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Hua-Chun Sun, Curtis L. Baker, Frederick A. A. Kingdom; Simultaneous density contrast is bidirectional. Journal of Vision 2016;16(14):4. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.14.4.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Simultaneous density contrast, or SDC, is the phenomenon in which the perceived density of a textured region is altered by a surround of different density (Mackay, 1973). SDC provides an experimental tool to investigate mechanisms of density coding, yet has not been systematically examined. We measured SDC with a 2AFC staircase procedure in which human observers judged which of two patterns, one with and one without a surround, appeared more dense. We used a range of surround densities varying from very sparse to very dense (0–76.8 dots/deg2), and two center test densities (6.4 and 12.8 dots/deg2). Psychometric functions were used to estimate both the points of subjective equality (PSE) and their precision. Unexpectedly we find a bidirectional SDC effect across the five observers: Not only does a denser surround reduce perceived density of the center, but a sparser surround enhances its perceived density. We also show that SDC is not mediated by either contrast-contrast or spatial-frequency contrast. Our results suggest the presence of multiple channels selective for texture density, with lateral inhibitory interactions between them.
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