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Anastasia V. Flevaris, Scott O. Murray; Feature-based attention modulates surround suppression. Journal of Vision 2015;15(1):29. doi: 10.1167/15.1.29.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Stimuli appearing in the surround of the classical receptive field (CRF) can reduce neuronal firing and perceived contrast of a preferred stimulus in the CRF, a phenomenon referred to as surround suppression. Suppression is greatest when the surrounding stimulus has the same orientation and spatial frequency (SF) as the central target. Although spatial attention has been shown to influence surround suppression, the effects of feature-based attention have yet to be characterized. Using behavioral contrast adaptation in humans, we examined center-surround interactions between SF and orientation, and asked whether attending to one feature dimension versus the other influenced suppression. A center-surround triplet comprised of a central target Gabor and two flanking Gabors were used for adaptation. The flankers could have the same SF and orientation as the target, or differ in one or both of the feature dimensions. Contrast thresholds were measured for the target before and after adapting to center-surround triplets, and postadaptation thresholds were taken as an indirect measure of surround suppression. Both feature dimensions contributed to surround suppression and did not summate. Moreover, when center and surround had the same feature value in one dimension (e.g., same orientation) but had different values in the other dimension (e.g., different SF), there was more suppression when attention was directed to the feature dimension that matched between center and surround than when attention was directed to the feature dimension that differed. These results demonstrate that feature-based attention can influence center-surround interactions by enhancing the effects of the attended dimension.
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