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Short-range limitation on detection of feature differences

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

We studied the ability of observers to detect the presence of a clearly visible line segment against a background of line segments of different orientation. As we increase the number (density) of these background lines, we find that detectability does not behave monotonically. Adding a small number of background lines decreases detectability but if adjacent line segments are permitted to fall in close range, a further increase of background lines improves performance which eventually reaches a constant level. This suggests that detection of feature differences involves a short-range process. The range of this process is about two degrees or twice the length of the line segments used. Thus texture-gradients between different elements are only formed if the distance between these elements is not much larger than the average element size.

Affiliations: 1: The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel; 2: AT & T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, New Jersey 07974, USA


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