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Shape-from-shading is independent of visual attention and may be a 'texton'

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

—Shading was used to generate the appearance of an obliquely illuminated surface with spherical indentations and protrusions. The "pop-out" of an apparent indentation among numerous apparent protrusions served as a psychophysical assay for shape-from-shading. Detectability of the pop-out varied with the direction of apparent illumination, a finding which is characteristic for shape-from-shading and which demonstrated the appropriateness of this assay. Observers were able to concurrently detect two shape-from-shading pop-outs in different parts of the display, demonstrating that shape-from-shading is a parallel process. In another experiment, visual attention was engaged by a letter discrimination task. Nevertheless, observers were able to detect a shape-from-shading pop-out concurrently in the unattended part of the display, suggesting that shape-from-shading is independent of visual attention. Thus, shape-from-shading shares some of the characteristics of Julesz' textural stimulus dimensions ('textons').

Affiliations: 1: Division of Biology 216-76, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA


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