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Spatial frequency discrimination for sinewave gratings with random, bandpass frequency modulation: Evidence for averaging in spatial acuity

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

—Spatial frequency difference thresholds for vertical, high contrast sinewave gratings were estimated at 1.25,2.5,5.0 and 10.0 cyc deg-1. Within an experiment two independent manipulations of the stimulus were employed: (1) the number of cycles of the sinewave grating was varied over a range of 2.0 to 15.0 cycles; and (2) a stationary, random frequency modulation was imposed on the sinewave. The probability density function of the frequency modulation was a Gaussian whose dispersion coefficient was varied, in different experiments, in the range of 0 to 10% of the frequency of the parent sinewave. Both of these experimental variables were found to affect the precision with which spatial frequency discrimination could be performed. The Weber fraction increased both as the number of cycles present was decreased and as the dispersion coefficient of the modulating function was increased. These two effects were independent. The data support previous psychophysical findings that spatial frequency discrimination involves averaging over the total area of the stimulus and are compatible with spatial primitive models of spatial contrast vision. The data are not compatible with those of Hirsch and Hylton (J. opt. Soc. Am. 72, 1367-1374) which suggest that spatial interval discrimination occurs solely by operation of foveal mechanisms.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland, UK


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