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Steven. S. Shimozaki, Miguel P. Eckstein, Craig K. Abbey; Stimulus information contaminates summation tests of independent neural representations of features. Journal of Vision 2002;2(5):1. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/2.5.1.
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Many models of visual processing assume that visual information is analyzed into separable and independent neural codes, or features. A common psychophysical test of independent features is known as a summation study, which measures performance in a detection, discrimination, or visual search task as the number of proposed features increases. Improvement in human performance with increasing number of available features is typically attributed to the summation, or combination, of information across independent neural coding of the features. In many instances, however, increasing the number of available features also increases the stimulus information in the task, as assessed by an optimal observer that does not include the independent neural codes. In a visual search task with spatial frequency and orientation as the component features, a particular set of stimuli were chosen so that all searches had equivalent stimulus information, regardless of the number of features. In this case, human performance did not improve with increasing number of features, implying that the improvement observed with additional features may be due to stimulus information and not the combination across independent features.
Distractors were always 2.0 cpd vertical Gabor patches, 1 octave bandwidth, full-width half-height.
Contrast = Michelson Contrast = (maximum luminance - minimum luminance)/(maximum luminance + minimum luminance).
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