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Orientation discrimination at isoluminance


Reisbeck,  TE
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

Gegenfurtner,  KR
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Reisbeck, T., & Gegenfurtner, K. (1996). Orientation discrimination at isoluminance. Talk presented at 19th European Conference on Visual Perception. Strasbourg, France.

Cite as:
Colour and form are important attributes of the objects in our visual environment. We tested the hypothesis that colour and orientation are processed independently in the visual system. Orientation perception for stimuli defined by luminance is characterised by a decrease in thresholds with increasing stimulus contrast, and by a strong oblique effect: stimuli along the horizontal or vertical axes are discriminated more easily. We determined orientation discrimination thresholds for stationary, slow (1 Hz) or fast (8 Hz) moving sine-wave gratings (1 cycle deg-1) defined by luminance or isoluminant (red -- green) contrast. In a 4AFC paradigm, three of four stimulus patches were identical and the fourth differed in orientation, contrast, or in both. When we measured orientation discrimination thresholds as a function of stimulus contrast, thresholds decreased for all stimuli with increasing contrast. At all temporal frequencies the functions relating orientation thresholds to stimulus contrast had similar shapes for luminance and isoluminant gratings. On a cone-contrast metric, thresholds for stationary and slowly moving stimuli were consistently lower for isoluminant compared to luminance stimuli. For fast-moving stimuli orientation thresholds were similar for both kinds of gratings. For both types of stimuli a marked oblique effect was observed. To characterise processing of contrast and orientation completely, we measured simultaneous thresholds for contrast and orientation. The shapes of the resulting two-dimensional threshold contours were similar for luminance and isoluminant gratings, indicating similar rules for combining differences in contrast and orientation. We conclude that processing of isoluminant and luminance stimuli undergoes the same neural processing at least for the low spatial frequencies used here.