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Spatial, colour and contrast response characteristics of mechanisms which mediate discrimination of pattern orientation and magnification

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

We have measured response times for the detection of a single target presented against a set of reference elements which are characterised by combinations of four different stimulus parameters; colour, contrast polarity, magnification and orientation. The aim of the experiments was to determine the response characteristics of visual mechanisms which mediate target detection through the discrimination of orientation and magnification. In the first experiments, we determined sensitivity to differences in colour and contrast polarity, and show that the mechanisms responsible for the discrimination of orientation and of magnification are both selective in their responses to colour and to contrast polarity. There are, nonetheless, residual interactions between patterns of different contrast polarities and between those of different colour, and in the latter case, weak interactions persist under equiluminance conditions. In a second set of experiments, we examined the interactions between orientation and magnification. We conclude that the responses of visual mechanisms which mediate target detection through discrimination of orientation are markedly dependent on stimulus magnification whereas those which mediate detection through discrimination of magnification are, in contrast, relatively insensitive to stimulus orientation.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Physics (Biophysics) Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Prince Consort Road, London SW7 2BZ, UK


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