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Binocular interaction: contrast matching and contrast discrimination are predicted by the same model

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

How do signals from the 2 eyes combine and interact? Our recent work has challenged earlier schemes in which monocular contrast signals are subject to square-law transduction followed by summation across eyes and binocular gain control. Much more successful was a new 'two-stage' model in which the initial transducer was almost linear and contrast gain control occurred both pre- and post-binocular summation. Here we extend that work by: (i) exploring the two-dimensional stimulus space (defined by left- and right-eye contrasts) more thoroughly, and (ii) performing contrast discrimination and contrast matching tasks for the same stimuli. Twenty-five base-stimuli made from 1 c/deg patches of horizontal grating, were defined by the factorial combination of 5 contrasts for the left eye (0.3–32%) with five contrasts for the right eye (0.3–32%). Other than in contrast, the gratings in the two eyes were identical. In a 2IFC discrimination task, the base-stimuli were masks (pedestals), where the contrast increment was presented to one eye only. In a matching task, the base-stimuli were standards to which observers matched the contrast of either a monocular or binocular test grating. In the model, discrimination depends on the local gradient of the observer's internal contrast-response function, while matching equates the magnitude (rather than gradient) of response to the test and standard. With all model parameters fixed by previous work, the two-stage model successfully predicted both the discrimination and the matching data and was much more successful than linear or quadratic binocular summation models. These results show that performance measures and perception (contrast discrimination and contrast matching) can be understood in the same theoretical framework for binocular contrast vision.

Affiliations: 1: School of Life and Health Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK

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