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Contrast sensitivity to patch stimuli: Effects of spatial bandwidth and temporal presentation

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

Models of the spatial response of human vision are important for applied work, but the available contrast sensitivity function (CSF) data vary widely due to the diverse spatiotemporal stimuli used over the years. To assist selection, this paper: (1) reports measurements of the effects on the CSF of varying the spatial and temporal windows of grating patches; (2) demonstrates that the widely discrepant CSFs from previous studies can be accounted for by using these results; and (3) discusses simple criteria for choosing CSFs for practical applications. CSFs were measured for several combinations of spatial and temporal waveforms, using the same subjects under otherwise identical conditions. The CSF was measured over the range of 0.5-10 c/deg using Gabor-type patches of 1.0-, 0.5-, 0.25-, and 0.125-octave spatial bandwidths using both abrupt and gradual temporal presentations. The results were compared with the CSF obtained with a fixed aperture (4 deg x 4 deg) grating pattern. Increasing the number of cycles resulted in increased sensitivity at intermediate frequencies, changing the CSF to a narrower bandpass shape. For each patch bandwidth, the gradual presentation CSF had a narrower spatial pass band than with the abrupt presentation. The relevance of the large differences in the CSFs obtained with different stimuli to our understanding of visual performance is discussed.

Affiliations: 1: The Schepens Eye Research Institute, Harvard Medical School, 20 Staniford Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA


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