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Patrick T. Goodbourn, Jason D. Forte; Spatial limitations of fast temporal segmentation are best modeled by V1 receptive fields. Journal of Vision 2013;13(13):23. doi: 10.1167/13.13.23.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The fine temporal structure of events influences the spatial grouping and segmentation of visual-scene elements. Although adjacent regions flickering asynchronously at high temporal frequencies appear identical, the visual system signals a boundary between them. These “phantom contours” disappear when the gap between regions exceeds a critical value (gmax). We used gmax as an index of neuronal receptive-field size to compare with known receptive-field data from along the visual pathway and thus infer the location of the mechanism responsible for fast temporal segmentation. Observers viewed a circular stimulus reversing in luminance contrast at 20 Hz for 500 ms. A gap of constant retinal eccentricity segmented each stimulus quadrant; on each trial, participants identified a target quadrant containing counterphasing inner and outer segments. Through varying the gap width, gmax was determined at a range of retinal eccentricities. We found that gmax increased from 0.3° to 0.8° for eccentricities from 2° to 12°. These values correspond to receptive-field diameters of neurons in primary visual cortex that have been reported in single-cell and fMRI studies and are consistent with the spatial limitations of motion detection. In a further experiment, we found that modulation sensitivity depended critically on the length of the contour and could be predicted by a simple model of spatial summation in early cortical neurons. The results suggest that temporal segmentation is achieved by neurons at the earliest cortical stages of visual processing, most likely in primary visual cortex.
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