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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 15, Iss. 5 — May. 1, 1998
  • pp: 1036–1047

Spatial attention: effect of position uncertainty and number of distractor patterns on the threshold-versus-contrast function for contrast discrimination

John M. Foley and Wolfgang Schwarz  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 15, Issue 5, pp. 1036-1047 (1998)

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Our goal is to integrate knowledge about contrast discrimination with knowledge about spatial attention effects. An experiment is described that measures the effects of position uncertainty, number of distractors, and contrast on the contrast discrimination threshold in a fully crossed factorial design. The threshold-versus-contrast function is nonmonotonic in all conditions, decreasing and then increasing as contrast increases. Increasing uncertainty and/or the number of distractors increases thresholds, and there are interactions among the three variables indicating that uncertainty and distractor number have different effects on detection as distractor contrast varies. The results are well accounted for by a model that combines a nonlinear excitation/divisive inhibition model of pattern mechanisms with a noise-limited model of the decision process.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.1800) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision - contrast sensitivity
(330.4060) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision modeling
(330.5000) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision - patterns and recognition
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics
(330.6100) Vision, color, and visual optics : Spatial discrimination

Original Manuscript: August 22, 1997
Revised Manuscript: December 8, 1997
Manuscript Accepted: December 9, 1997
Published: May 1, 1998

John M. Foley and Wolfgang Schwarz, "Spatial attention: effect of position uncertainty and number of distractor patterns on the threshold-versus-contrast function for contrast discrimination," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 15, 1036-1047 (1998)

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