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Fang Hou, Zhong-Lin Lu, Chang-Bing Huang; The external noise normalized gain profile of spatial vision. Journal of Vision 2014;14(13):9. doi: 10.1167/14.13.9.
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The contrast sensitivity function (CSF), a measure of visual sensitivity to a wide range of spatial frequencies, has been widely used as the gain profile of the front-end filter of the visual system to predict how we perceive spatial patterns. However, the CSF itself is determined by the gain profile and other processing inefficiencies of the visual system; it may be problematic to use the CSF as the gain profile in observer models. Here, we applied the external noise paradigm and the perceptual template model (PTM) to characterize several major properties of the visual system. With the external noise normalized gain profile, nonlinearity, and internal additive and multiplicative noises, the PTM accounted for 92.8% of the variance in the experiment data measured in a wide range of conditions and revealed the major processing components that determine the CSF. Unlike the CSF, the external noise normalized gain profile of the visual system is relatively flat across a wide range of spatial frequencies. The results may have major implications for understanding normal and abnormal spatial vision.
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