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Melchi Michel, Wilson S. Geisler; Intrinsic position uncertainty explains detection and localization performance in peripheral vision. Journal of Vision 2011;11(1):18. doi: 10.1167/11.1.18.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Efficient performance in visual detection tasks requires excluding signals from irrelevant spatial locations. Indeed, researchers have found that detection performance in many tasks involving multiple potential target locations can be explained by the uncertainty the added locations contribute to the task. A similar type of Location Uncertainty may arise within the visual system itself. Converging evidence from hyperacuity and crowding studies suggests that feature localization declines rapidly in peripheral vision. This decline should add inherent position uncertainty to detection tasks. The current study used a modified detection task to measure how intrinsic position uncertainty changes with eccentricity. Subjects judged whether a Gabor target appeared within a cued region of a noisy display. The eccentricity and size of the region varied across blocks. When subjects detected the target, they used a mouse to indicate its location. This allowed measurement of localization as well as detection errors. An ideal observer degraded with internal response noise and position noise (uncertainty) accounted for both the detection and localization performance of the subjects. The results suggest that position uncertainty grows linearly with visual eccentricity and is independent of target contrast. Intrinsic position uncertainty appears to be a critical factor limiting search and detection performance.
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