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John Wilder, Ingo Fruend, James H. Elder; Frequency tuning of shape perception revealed by classification image analysis. Journal of Vision 2018;18(8):9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/18.8.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Classification image analysis is a powerful technique for elucidating linear detection and discrimination mechanisms, but it has primarily been applied to contrast detection. Here we report a novel classification image methodology for identifying linear mechanisms underlying shape discrimination. Although prior attempts to apply classification image methods to shape perception have been confined to simple radial shapes, the method proposed here can be applied to general 2-D (planar) shapes of arbitrary complexity, including natural shapes. Critical to the method is the projection of each target shape onto a Fourier descriptor (FD) basis set, which allows the essential perceptual features of each shape to be represented by a relatively small number of coefficients. We demonstrate that under this projection natural shapes are low pass, following a relatively steep power law. To efficiently identify the observer's classification template, we employ a yes/no paradigm and match the spectral density of the stimulus noise in FD space to the power law density of the target shape. The proposed method generates linear template models for animal shape detection that are predictive of human judgments. These templates are found to be biased away from the ideal, overly weighting lower frequencies. This low-pass bias suggests that higher frequency shape processing relies on nonlinear mechanisms.
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