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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Vol. 16, Iss. 3 — Mar. 1, 1999
  • pp: 750–754

Flash masking and facilitation by nearby luminance perturbations

Theodore E. Cohn and Donald I. A. MacLeod  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 16, Issue 3, pp. 750-754 (1999)

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Light-adapted foveal luminance increment thresholds were measured for white photopic targets of 1.5-arc min diameter and 220-ms duration. We aimed to learn about the properties of mechanisms that subserve the detection of these targets. To study this subject we developed a noise probe technique that inserts noise close to the site of the stimulus. Threshold is more than doubled when zero-mean luminance noise is placed at a pair of flanking spots in the horizontal meridian centered on the test spot and 1.5 arc min distant. The detection mechanism thus has a broad field, since noise effects persist at 5-arc min separation. The masking effect increases when the noise is in antiphase at the two flanking spots. Neither even- nor odd-symmetric mechanisms are able to explain these findings, regardless of whether linear or nonlinear processing is employed. The target detection may be mediated in part by a motion-sensitive mechanism.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(330.1800) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision - contrast sensitivity
(330.1880) Vision, color, and visual optics : Detection
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics
(330.6110) Vision, color, and visual optics : Spatial filtering
(330.6790) Vision, color, and visual optics : Temporal discrimination

Theodore E. Cohn and Donald I. A. MacLeod, "Flash masking and facilitation by nearby luminance perturbations," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 16, 750-754 (1999)

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