A template model predicts detection of sparse stimul

Baker, Daniel and Meese, Tim A template model predicts detection of sparse stimul. Perception, 42 (3), p. 363.

Abstract

Contemporary models of contrast integration across space assume that pooling operates uniformly over the target region. For sparse stimuli, where high contrast regions are separated by areas containing no signal, this strategy may be sub-optimal because it pools more noise than signal as area increases. Little is known about the behaviour of human observers for detecting such stimuli. We performed an experiment in which three observers detected regular textures of various areas, and six levels of sparseness. Stimuli were regular grids of horizontal grating micropatches, each 1 cycle wide. We varied the ratio of signals (marks) to gaps (spaces), with mark:space ratios ranging from 1 : 0 (a dense texture with no spaces) to 1 : 24. To compensate for the decline in sensitivity with increasing distance from fixation, we adjusted the stimulus contrast as a function of eccentricity based on previous measurements [Baldwin, Meese & Baker, 2012, J Vis, 12(11):23]. We used the resulting area summation functions and psychometric slopes to test several filter-based models of signal combination. A MAX model failed to predict the thresholds, but did a good job on the slopes. Blanket summation of stimulus energy improved the threshold fit, but did not predict an observed slope increase with mark:space ratio. Our best model used a template matched to the sparseness of the stimulus, and pooled the squared contrast signal over space. Templates for regular patterns have also recently been proposed to explain the regular appearance of slightly irregular textures (Morgan et al, 2012, Proc R Soc B, 279, 2754–2760)

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.1068/ava13
Divisions: Life & Health Sciences
Life & Health Sciences > Optometry
Life & Health Sciences > Neurosciences research group
Additional Information: Abstracts: Applied Vision Association Spring Meeting, Manchester, UK 26 March 2013

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