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Plaid maskers revisited: asymmetric plaids


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

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Wichmann, F. (2001). Plaid maskers revisited: asymmetric plaids. Poster presented at 4. Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 2001), Tübingen, Germany.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-E2EA-B
A large number of psychophysical and physiological experiments suggest that luminance patterns are independently analysed in channels responding to different bands of spatial frequency. There are, however, interactions among stimuli falling well outside the usual estimates of channels' bandwidths. Derrington Henning (1989) first reported that, in 2-AFC sinusoidal-grating detection, plaid maskers, whose components are oriented symmetrically about the signal orientation, cause a substantially larger threshold elevation than would be predicted from their sinusoidal constituents alone. Wichmann Tollin (1997a,b) and Wichmann Henning (1998) confirmed and extended the original findings, measuring masking as a function of presentation time and plaid mask contrast. Here I investigate masking using plaid patterns whose components are asymmetrically positioned about the signal orientation. Standard temporal 2-AFC pattern discrimination experiments were conducted using plaid patterns and oblique sinusoidal gratings as maskers, and horizontally orientated sinusoidal gratings as signals. Signal and maskers were always interleaved on the display (refresh rate 152 Hz). As in the case of the symmetrical plaid maskers, substantial masking was observed for many of the asymmetrical plaids. Masking is neither a straightforward function of the plaid's constituent sinusoidal components nor of the periodicity of the luminance beats between components. These results cause problems for the notion that, even for simple stimuli, detection and discrimination are based on the outputs of channels tuned to limited ranges of spatial frequency and orientation, even if a limited set of nonlinear interactions between these channels is allowed.