Nonlinear interactions in the human visual system were studied using visual evoked potentials (VEPs). In one experiment (superimposed condition), all segments of a dartboard pattern were contrast reversed in time by a sum of two sinusoidal signals. In a second experiment (lateral condition), segments in some regions of the dartboard pattern were contrast reversed by a single sinusoid of one frequency, while segments in other (contiguous) regions of the pattern were contrast reversed by a single sinusoid of another frequency. An identical set of ten frequency pairs was used in each experiment. The frequency pairs were chosen such that the difference between frequencies in each pair was 2 Hz. Amplitudes and phases of the sum and difference frequency components of the VEP (intermodulation terms) were retrieved by Fourier analysis and served as measures of nonlinear interactions. The use of input pairs with a fixed separation in frequency enabled the estimation of the temporal characteristics of the visual pathways prior to a second linear stage. The use of superimposed and lateral conditions revealed antagonistic contributions to the VEP, possibly reflecting direct-through excitatory and lateral inhibitory pathways, respectively.