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Felix A. Wichmann, G. Bruce Henning; The pedestal effect is caused by off-frequency looking, not nonlinear transduction or contrast gain-control. Journal of Vision 2006;6(6):194. doi: 10.1167/6.6.194.
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The pedestal or dipper effect is the large improvement in the detectabilty of a sinusoidal grating observed when the signal is added to a pedestal or masking grating having the signal's spatial frequency, orientation, and phase. The effect is largest with pedestal contrasts just above the ‘threshold’ in the absence of a pedestal.
We measured the pedestal effect in both broadband and notched masking noise—noise from which a 1.5- octave band centered on the signal and pedestal frequency had been removed. The pedestal effect persists in broadband noise, but almost disappears with notched noise. The spatial-frequency components of the notched noise that lie above and below the spatial frequency of the signal and pedestal prevent the use of information about changes in contrast carried in channels tuned to spatial frequencies that are very much different from that of the signal and pedestal. We conclude that the pedestal effect in the absence of notched noise results principally from the use of information derived from channels with peak sensitivities at spatial frequencies that are different from that of the signal and pedestal. Thus the pedestal or dipper effect is not a characteristic of individual spatial-frequency tuned channels.
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