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Luis Garcia-Suarez, Kathy T. Mullen; Form and motion processing of second-order stimuli in color vision. Journal of Vision 2013;13(7):10. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.7.10.
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We investigate whether there are second-order form and motion mechanisms in human color vision. Second-order stimuli are contrast modulations of a noise carrier. The contrast envelopes are static Gabors of different spatial frequencies (0.125–1 cycles/°) or drifting Gabors of different temporal frequencies (0.25 cycles/°, 0.5–4 Hz). Stimuli are isoluminant red-green or achromatic. Second-order form processing is measured using a simultaneous 2IFC (two-interval forced-choice) detection and orientation identification task, and direction identification is used for second-order motion processing. We find that for simple detection thresholds, chromatic performance is as good or better than achromatic performance, whereas for both motion and form tasks, chromatic performance is poorer than achromatic. Chromatic second-order form perception is very poor across all spatial and temporal frequencies measured and has a lowpass contrast modulation sensitivity function with a spatial cutoff of 1 cycle/° and temporal cutoff of 4 Hz. Chromatic second-order motion sensitivity is even poorer than for form and typically is limited to 1–2 Hz. To determine whether this residual motion processing might be based on feature tracking, we used the pedestal paradigm of Lu and Sperling (1995). We find that adding a static pedestal of the same spatial frequency as the drifting Gabor envelope, with its contrast set to 1–2 times its detection threshold, impairs motion direction performance for the chromatic stimuli but not the achromatic. This suggests that the motion of second-order chromatic stimuli is not processed by a second-order system but by a third-order, feature-tracking system, although a genuine second-order motion system exists for achromatic stimuli.
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