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Kathy T Mullen, William H. A. Beaudot; Global or local shape discrimination of radial frequency patterns?. Journal of Vision 2003;3(9):217. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/3.9.217.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Purpose. Color vision performs below luminance vision on global shape discrimination measured with radial frequency patterns (Mullen & Beaudot, Vision Research, 2002). This effect might reflect a genuine deficit of color on global shape processing, or it might originate from the fact that color vision is poorer at encoding local orientation. In a series of experiments we test and compare the role of local orientation cues in the shape discrimination of radial frequency (RF) patterns for chromatic and achromatic vision.
Methods. Stimuli are contours described by the 4th derivative of a gaussian and form radial patterns (global task) or parts of the pattern (local task). We designed the following tasks in order to separate the role of local-orientation and global cues in the shape discrimination task: 1) we compare performance for the discrimination of local parts (corners or sides) of a RF pattern versus circular arcs of the same radius; 2) we compare the performance for the detection of line modulation versus radial frequency modulation for otherwise identical contours; 3) we compare the effect on shape discrimination of varying the spatial frequencies of the contour of the radial frequency pattern. Data were fitted with a model that uses changes in local curvature to discriminate shape.
Results. We find very little performance difference between the local-orientation based tasks and the global shape discrimination task, regardless of whether stimuli were chromatic or achromatic.
Conclusions. We conclude that performance on the shape discrimination of radial frequency patterns is limited by local orientation cues in our experiments. While RF patterns presumably exploit a global shape processing mechanism, this affords little or no performance advantages in the task.
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