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Bruce C. Hansen, Keith A. May, Robert F. Hess; One “shape” fits all: The orientation bandwidth of contour integration. Journal of Vision 2014;14(13):17. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.13.17.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The ability of human participants to integrate fragmented stimulus elements into perceived coherent contours (amidst a field of distracter elements) has been intensively studied across a large number of contour element parameters, ranging from luminance contrast and chromaticity to motion and stereo. The evidence suggests that contour integration performance depends on the low-level Fourier properties of the stimuli. Thus, to understand contour integration, it would be advantageous to understand the properties of the low-level filters that the visual system uses to process contour stimuli. We addressed this issue by examining the role of stimulus element orientation bandwidth in contour integration, a previously unexplored area. We carried out three psychophysical experiments, and then simulated all of the experiments using a recently developed two-stage filter-overlap model whereby the contour grouping occurs by virtue of the overlap between the filter responses to different elements. The first stage of the model responds to the elements, while the second stage integrates the responses along the contour. We found that the first stage had to be fairly broadly tuned for orientation to account for our results. The model showed a very good fit to a large data set with relatively few free parameters, suggesting that this class of model may have an important role to play in helping us to better understand the mechanisms of contour integration.
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