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Masking by plaid patterns: effects of presentation time and mask contrast


Wichmann,  FA
Department Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Wichmann, F. (1998). Masking by plaid patterns: effects of presentation time and mask contrast. Poster presented at 1. Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 98), Tübingen, Germany.

Most current models of early spatial vision comprise of sets of orientation- and spatial-frequency selective filters with our without limited non-linear interactions amongst different subsets of the filters. The performance of human observers and of such models for human spatial vision were compared in experiments using maskers with two spatial frequencies (plaid masks). The detectability of horizontally orientated sinusoidal signals at 3.02 c/deg was measured in standard 2AFC-tasks in the presence of plaid patterns with two-components at the same spatial frequency as the signal but at different orientations (+/- 15, 30, 45, and 75 deg from the signal) and with varying contrasts (1.0, 6.25 and 25.0 contrast). In addition, the temporal envelope of the stimulus presentation was either a rectangular pulse of 19.7 msec duration, or a temporal Hanning window of 1497 msec.Threshold elevation varied with plaid component orientation, peaked +/- 30 deg from the signal where nearly a log unit threshold elevation for the 25.0 contrast plaid was observed. For plaids with 1.0 contrast we observed significant facilitation even with plaids whose components were 75 deg from that of the signal. Elevation factors were somewhat lower for the short stimulus presentation time but were still significant (up to a factor of 5 or 6). Despite of the simple nature of the stimuli employed in this study-sinusoidal signal and plaid masks comprised of only two sinusoids-none of the current models of early spatial vision can fully account for all the data gathered.