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Effective signaling of surface boundaries by L-vertices reflect the consistency of their contrast in natural images

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Vessel,  Edward Allen
Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Max Planck Society;

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Vessel, E. A., Biederman, I., Subramaniam, S., & Greene, M. R. (2016). Effective signaling of surface boundaries by L-vertices reflect the consistency of their contrast in natural images. Journal of Vision, 16(9): 15. doi:doi:10.1167/16.9.15.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-201A-7
Abstract
An L-vertex, the point at which two contours coterminate, provides highly reliable evidence that a surface terminates at that vertex, thus providing the strongest constraint on the extraction of shape from images (Guzman, 1968). Such vertices are pervasive in our visual world but the importance of a statistical regularity about them has been underappreciated: The contours defining the vertex are (almost) always of the same direction of contrast with respect to the background (i.e., both darker or both lighter). Here we show that when the two contours are of different directions of contrast, the capacity of the L-vertex to signal the termination of a surface, as reflected in object recognition, is markedly reduced. Although image statistics have been implicated in determining the connectivity in the earliest cortical visual stage (V1) and in grouping during visual search, this finding provides evidence that such statistics are involved in later stages where object representations are derived from two-dimensional images.