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J. Edwin Dickinson, Jessica McGinty, Kathryn E. Webster, David R. Badcock; Further evidence that local cues to shape in RF patterns are integrated globally. Journal of Vision 2012;12(12):16. doi: 10.1167/12.12.16.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Radial frequency (RF) patterns, paths deformed from circular by a sinusoidal modulation of radius, have proved valuable stimuli for investigation of visual shape processing. Their utility relies upon evidence that thresholds for detection of modulation decrease, as cycles of modulation are added, at a rate that cannot be accounted for by the improving probability of detection of any single cycle (probability summation). This has been interpreted as indicative of global processing. Recently Mullen, Beaudot, and Ivanov (2011), using low contrast RF patterns viewed in cosine phase through a Gaussian window, demonstrated the existence of a local cue to modulation that was more salient than the global shape cue present in sectors of RF patterns. The experiments reported here investigate why this cue has not previously obscured global integration of shape information in RF patterns. Using stimuli modulated in sine phase, Experiment 1 showed that the presence of a circular sector of path, used to complete a partially modulated RF pattern, does not raise thresholds, contrary to the suggestion of Mullen et al. (2011). Experiment 2 demonstrated integration for high and low contrast RF patterns viewed in sine phase through a Gaussian window and Experiment 3 showed the same for patterns in cosine phase if the use of a local phase specific curvature cue was precluded. Effective use of local curvature in the test comparison, then, requires knowledge of pattern orientation to define the sign of curvature. Experiment 4 demonstrated global processing of shape information for a range of radial frequencies and also showed that the local maximum gradient with respect to circular within an RF pattern covaries with threshold. This implies that it is this cue, or one that covaries linearly with it, that is integrated across cycles of modulation by the global processing mechanism.
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