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Joshua A. Solomon; Visual discrimination of orientation statistics in crowded and uncrowded arrays. Journal of Vision 2010;10(14):19. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/10.14.19.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When required to identify the orientation of an item outside the center of the visual field, the mean orientation predicts performance better than the orientation of any individual item in that region. Here I examine whether the visual system also preserves the variance of orientations in these so-called “crowded” displays. In Experiment 1, I determined the separation between items necessary to prevent neighbors from interfering with discrimination between different orientations in a single, target item. In Experiment 2, I used this separation and measured the effect of orientation variance on discrimination between mean orientations in these consequently uncrowded displays. In Experiment 3, I measured the relationship between the just-noticeable difference in variance and the smaller of two orientation variances in uncrowded displays. Finally, in Experiments 4 and 5, I reduced the separation between items and measured the effect of crowding on mean and variance discriminations. When considered together, the results of all these experiments imply that the visual system computes orientation variances with both more efficiency and greater precision than it computes orientation means. Although crowding made it difficult for some observers to discriminate between small amounts of orientation variance, it had no other significant effect on visual estimates mean orientation and orientation variance.
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