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Effects of foreground scale in texture discrimination tasks: Performance is size, shape, and content specific

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

—Textural gradients can be defined as differences across space in orientation and spatial frequency content, along with absolute luminance and contrast. In this study, stimuli were created with gradients of these types to see how changing the size and shape of the foreground region affects the psychophysical task. The foreground regions were designed as clusters of target texels alternating with interplaced background texels (of the same cluster size). This design gives rise to a texture square-wave, with texture frequency defined by the distance from the beginning of one target cluster to the next. It was found that for stimuli with vertical and horizontal Gabor patches, the relationship between the global and local orientation of the foreground region is a critical variable, indicating some global-local interaction. When the global orientation of the foreground region is orthogonal to local target texel orientation, visibility is optimal for high texture frequencies, while for parallel arrangements, low texture frequencies are most visible. The latter result was also found to a lesser degree for tasks involving contrast gradients as well as spatial-frequency gradients, but with no effect caused by varying the global orientation. The results indicate the existence of a second-stage filter that integrates (across space) responses of similar first-stage spatial filters, and then sums the resultant activities with those of orthogonal first-stage filters, whose spatial proximity are to the sides of the local orientation. The size of these integrating mechanisms may extend to more than 7 deg, with connections between smoothed activities of filters with orthogonal orientations spanning approximately 1-2 deg.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Neurobiology, Brain Research, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel


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