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J. Edwin Dickinson, Sarah K. Morgan, Matthew F. Tang, David R. Badcock; Separate banks of information channels encode size and aspect ratio. Journal of Vision 2017;17(3):27. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.3.27.
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Size and aspect ratio are ecologically important visual attributes. Relative size confers depth, and aspect ratio is a size-invariant cue to object identity. The mechanisms of their analyses by the visual system are uncertain. In a series of three psychophysical experiments we show that adaptation causes perceptual repulsion in these properties. Experiment 1 shows that adaptation to a square causes a subsequently viewed smaller (larger) test square to appear smaller (larger) still. Experiment 2 reveals that a test rectangle with an aspect ratio (height/width) of two appears more slender after adaptation to rectangles with aspect ratios less than two, while the same test stimulus appears more squat after adaptation to a rectangle with an aspect ratio greater than two. Significantly, aftereffect magnitudes peak and then decline as the sizes or aspect ratios of adaptor and test diverge. Experiment 3 uses the results of Experiments 1 and 2 to show that the changes in perceived aspect ratio are due to adaptation to aspect ratio rather than adaptation to the height and width of the stimuli. The results are consistent with the operation of distinct banks of information channels tuned for different values of each property. The necessary channels have log-Gaussian sensitivity profiles, have equal widths when expressed as ratios, are labeled with their preferred magnitudes, and are distributed at exponentially increasing intervals. If an adapting stimulus reduces each channel's sensitivity in proportion to its activation then the displacement of the centroid of activity due to a subsequently experienced test stimulus predicts the measured size or aspect ratio aftereffect.
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