Abstract Previous experiments found that acute exposure to the insecticide/acaricide, chlordimeform (CDM), produced large increases in the amplitude of pattern reversal evoked potentials (PREPs) without changing the amplitude of flash evoked potentials (FEPs) in the same rats (W. K. Boyes and R. S. Dyer, Exp. Neurol. 86: 434–447, 1984). Current work investigated the influence of physical characteristics of the evoking stimuli on the action of CDM. Adult male Long-Evans rats with epidural visual cortex electrodes were used. In experiment 1, PREPs were elicited with alternating gratings having equal contrast (99%) and a square wave spatial luminance profile at several spatial frequencies. Rats treated 1 h previously with 40 mg/kg CDM had increased PREP amplitudes at 0.1, 0.2, and 0.4 cycles per degree (cpd), but not at 0.8 cpd. No changes were found after 5 mg/kg CDM. In experiment 2, PREPs were elicited with gratings oriented at 0° (horizontal), 45°, 90°, or 135°. Treatment with 40 mg/kg CDM increased PREP amplitudes and latencies regardless of orientation. In experiment 3, FEPs elicited with strobe flashes spanning four log units of intensity showed a small but significant CDM dose × intensity interaction on P2N2 peak-to-peak amplitude. In experiment 4, PREPs were elicited with alternating gratings having a sinusoidal spatial luminance profile, spatial frequency of 0.2 or 0.8 cpd, and contrast ranging from noise levels to 65%. Rats treated with 40 mg/kg CDM showed increased peak-to-peak amplitudes only at 0.2 cpd and only at contrast values above 10%. The failure of CDM to alter PREPs at 0.8 cpd was attributed to low contrast sensitivity at that spatial frequency. The results demonstrated that the action of CDM on visual evoked potentials was dependent on the amount of contrast in the stimulus pattern, and suggested that CDM alters the encoding of visual contrast.