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Szonya Durant, Johannes M. Zanker; Characterizing motion contour detection mechanisms and equivalent mechanisms in the luminance domain. Journal of Vision 2009;9(1):36. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.1.36.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Motion-defined contours are ecologically important cues to object boundaries in complex fields of optic flow. We designed a novel stimulus in which the velocities of randomly positioned dots are defined by a 2D Gabor function, resulting in a motion-defined pattern with a clear orientation. We found that the number of correct responses in a vertical/horizontal orientation discrimination task increases and saturates with size of the Gabor envelope at around 4–5° full width at half height. The number of correct responses decreases with higher spatial frequency of the Gabor patterns. The best performance occurs at 0.1 cycles/degree, when only a single contour is visible. Using elliptical Gabor stimuli, we found that accuracy is higher if the patch is elongated along the contours (rather than orthogonal to them), confirming the existence of an elongated detector mechanism for a single contour. We compared tuning properties for motion-defined Gabor patterns with sparsely defined luminance Gabor patterns and found similar results, but only at low sampling densities. The nature of the information and the strength of the signal influence the properties of luminance contour detection mechanisms, whereas motion contour detection may be limited by the sparse visual representation of the motion field.
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