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Erin A. Crowder, Carl R. Olson; Macaque monkeys experience visual crowding. Journal of Vision 2015;15(5):14. doi: 10.1167/15.5.14.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In peripheral vision, objects that are easily discriminated on their own become less discriminable in the presence of surrounding clutter. This phenomenon is known as crowding.The neural mechanisms underlying crowding are not well understood. Better insight might come from single-neuron recording in nonhuman primates, provided they exhibit crowding; however, previous demonstrations of crowding have been confined to humans. In the present study, we set out to determine whether crowding occurs in rhesus macaque monkeys. We found that animals trained to identify a target letter among flankers displayed three hallmarks of crowding as established in humans. First, at a given eccentricity, increasing the spacing between the target and the flankers improved recognition accuracy. Second, the critical spacing, defined as the minimal spacing at which target discrimination was reliable, was proportional to eccentricity. Third, the critical spacing was largely unaffected by object size. We conclude that monkeys, like humans, experience crowding. These findings open the door to studies of crowding at the neuronal level in the monkey visual system.
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