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Dirk Kerzel, Sabine Born; Saliency enhances perceived contrast but degrades detection. Journal of Vision 2010;10(7):1287. doi: 10.1167/10.7.1287.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Numerous studies have shown that saliency has a large influence on visual search. In contrast, very little is known about how salient objects are perceived in typical search displays. We measured the perceived contrast of a Gabor stimulus that either had the same orientation as the surrounding distractors or a different orientation. Observers were shown a circular array of eight Gabors and two Gabors were marked as relevant. The task was to judge which of the Gabors in the marked locations had a higher contrast. We observed that the perceived contrast of Gabors with a contrast different from the context increased slightly. In another experiment, we investigated whether contrast enhancement, which we observed for above-threshold Gabors, would help observers to determine the location of a Gabor at contrast threshold. Observers were asked to indicate the position of the Gabor in one of two marked locations while the same six task-irrelevant Gabors as in Experiment 1 were shown. We found that it was more difficult to localize a Gabor that had an orientation different from the surrounding Gabors. Saliency may harm detection for stimuli at threshold while boosting contrast of above-threshold stimuli.
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