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Luminance-contrast properties of contour-shape processing revealed through the shape-frequency after-effect

Gheorghiu E & Kingdom FAA (2006) Luminance-contrast properties of contour-shape processing revealed through the shape-frequency after-effect. Vision Research, 46 (21), pp. 3603-3615.

We investigated the first-order inputs to contour-shape mechanisms using the shape-frequency after-effect (SFAE), in which adaptation to a sinusoidally modulated contour causes a shift in the apparent shape-frequency of a test contour in a direction away from that of the adapting stimulus [Kingdom F. A. A., & Prins N. (2005a). Different mechanisms encode the shapes of contours and contour-textures. Journal of Vision 5(8), 463, (Abstract)]. We measured SFAEs for adapting and test contours (and edges) that differed in the contrast-polarity, scale (or blur) and magnitude of luminance contrast. The rationale was that if the SFAE was found to be reduced when adaptor and test differed along a particular dimension of luminance contrast, contour-shape mechanisms must be tuned to that dimension. Our results reveal that SFAEs manifest (i) a degree of selectivity to luminance contrast polarity for both even-symmetric (contours only) and odd-symmetric (both contours and edges) luminance profiles; (ii) a degree of selectivity to luminance scale (or blur); (iii) higher selectivity to fine compared to coarse scale for broadband edges (iv) a small preference for equal-in-contrast adaptors and tests. These results suggest that contour shapes are not encoded in the form of a sparse, cartoon-like sketch, as might be presumed by local energy (i.e. non-phase-selective) or form-cue invariant models, but instead in a form that is relatively ‘feature-rich.'

Contour-shape; Adaptation; Shape-frequency after-effect; Contrast-polarity; Blur; Contrast

Vision Research: Volume 46, Issue 21

Author(s)Gheorghiu, Elena; Kingdom, Frederick A A
Publication date31/10/2006
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