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Asymmetries in visual texture discrimination

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

Recent results have shown that texture discrimination is an asymmetrical process; texture A within texture B may be much easier to detect than texture B within texture A. Two questions regarding discrimination asymmetries are addressed: (i) what sorts of textural properties are associated with discrimination asymmetries; and (ii) what sort of architecture would yield asymmetries. Two experiments show that discrimination asymmetries obtain when textures comprise circles of different sizes (large circles are easier to detect in small than vice versa) and when circles differ only in the regularity of their placement (irregularly placed circles are easier to detect in a background of regularly placed circles than vice versa). A plausible account of texture discrimination would involve the decomposition of images via a set orientation and scale selective filters followed by a second layer of filtering to detect energy differences between adjacent regions in the original convolutions. Discrimination asymmetries provide prima facie evidence against such a model because it involves only local measurements and comparisons. We propose that discrimination asymmetries are elegantly explained if it is assumed that the responses of the orientation and scale selective filters are normalized by the degree to which similarly tuned operators are responding elsewhere in the image; viz., global normalization of filter responses. However, there are cases where such global normalization is not required to explain asymmetrical discrimination.

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Psychology and Computer Science, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 5C2, Canada; 2: Departments of Computing & Information Science and Psychology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada


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