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Anna Sterkin, Alexander Sterkin, Uri Polat; Response similarity as a basis for perceptual binding. Journal of Vision 2008;8(7):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/8.7.17.
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Detection of low-contrast Gabor patches (GPs) is improved when flanked by collinear GPs, whereas suppression is observed for high-contrast GPs. The facilitation resembles the principles of Gestalt theory of perceptual organization. We propose a model for contour integration in the context of noise that incorporates a temporal element into this spatial architecture. The basic principles are (1) the response increases with increasing contrast, whereas the latency decreases; (2) activity-dependent interactions: facilitation for low and suppression for high activity; (3) the variance increases with contrast for responses, rates, and latency; and (4) inhibition has a shorter time constant than excitation. When a texture of randomly oriented GPs is presented, the response to every element decreases due to fast inhibition between the neighboring elements, shifting the activity toward the range of collinear facilitation. Next, the slower excitation induces selective facilitation along the contour elements. Consequently, the response to the contour increases, whereas the variance of the rate and latency decreases, providing better temporal correlation between the contour elements. Thus, collinear facilitation increases the saliency of contours. Our model may suggest a solution to the binding problem by bridging between the temporal and spatial aspects of lateral interactions that determine the encoding of perceptual grouping.
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