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Timothy G. Shepard, Emily A. Swanson, Comfrey L. McCarthy, Rhea T. Eskew; A model of selective masking in chromatic detection. Journal of Vision 2016;16(9):3. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.9.3.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Narrowly tuned, selective noise masking of chromatic detection has been taken as evidence for the existence of a large number of color mechanisms (i.e., higher order color mechanisms). Here we replicate earlier observations of selective masking of tests in the (L,M) plane of cone space when the noise is placed near the corners of the detection contour. We used unipolar Gaussian blob tests with three different noise color directions, and we show that there are substantial asymmetries in the detection contours—asymmetries that would have been missed with bipolar tests such as Gabor patches. We develop a new chromatic detection model, which is based on probability summation of linear cone combinations, and incorporates a linear contrast energy versus noise power relationship that predicts how the sensitivity of these mechanisms changes with noise contrast and chromaticity. With only six unipolar color mechanisms (the same number as the cardinal model), the new model accounts for the threshold contours across the different noise conditions, including the asymmetries and the selective effects of the noises. The key for producing selective noise masking in the (L,M) plane is having more than two mechanisms with opposed L- and M-cone inputs, in which case selective masking can be produced without large numbers of color mechanisms.
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