LI was first described in the CEs of the horseshoe crab Limulus polyphemus by Hartline (1949). Subsequent neurophysiological studies and mathematical models revealed that LI had the overall effect on the spatial frequency response of the CE of boosting high spatial frequencies over low, before cutoff. This was shown in terms of image processing to accentuate image boundaries and edges.

This section has examined the anatomy of Limulus CEs, and has mathematically derived an expression for an equivalent LI spatial high-boost filter in terms of the LI spread function. (The LI spread function describes how the effective inhibition of one retinula cell decreases with distance to neighboring ommatidia.) Several psychophysical visual responses in human visual experience can be attributed to LI in human vision.

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