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Elena Gheorghiu, Frederick A. A. Kingdom; Local and global components of texture-surround suppression of contour-shape coding. Journal of Vision 2012;12(6):20. doi: 10.1167/12.6.20.
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Evidence that contour-shapes and texture-shapes are processed by different mechanisms included the finding that contour-shape aftereffects are reduced when the adaptation stimulus is a texture made of contours rather than a single contour. This phenomenon has been termed texture-surround suppression of contour-shape, or TSSCS. How does TSSCS operate and over what spatial extent? We measured the postadaptation shift in the apparent shape frequency of a single sinusoidal-shaped contour as a function of the number of contours in the adaptor stimulus. Contours were Gabor strings in which the Gabor orientations were either tangential (snakes) or orthogonal (ladders) to the path of the contour. We found that for extended surrounds, the aftereffect was strongly reduced when the surround contours were the same as the central adaptor contour, but not when the Gabors making up the surround contours were opposite-in-orientation to those of the central adaptor. For near surrounds, the aftereffect in a snake contour was unaffected by same-orientation but strongly suppressed by opposite-orientation surrounds, whereas the aftereffect for a ladder-contour was suppressed equally by both same- and opposite-orientation near surrounds. Finally, the strength of surround suppression decreased gradually with increasing spatial separation between center and surround. These results indicate that there are two components to texture-surround suppression in our shape aftereffect: one that is sensitive to opposite-orientation texture surrounds, operates locally, and disrupts contour-processing; the other that is sensitive to same-orientation texture surrounds, is spatially extended, and prevents the shape of the contour from being processed as a contour. We also demonstrate that the observed shape aftereffects are not due to changes in the apparent shape-frequency of the adaptors or the precision with which their shape-frequency is encoded, indicating that TSSCS is not an instance of crowding.
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