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Anna C. Geuzebroek, Albert V. van den Berg; Eccentricity scale independence for scene perception in the first tens of milliseconds. Journal of Vision 2018;18(9):9. doi: 10.1167/18.9.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Visual processing of scenes in the first tens of milliseconds relies on global image summary statistics rather than localized processing. Although natural scenes typically involve our entire visual field, scenes are usually presented experimentally at limited eccentricity. Receptive-field size increases with foveal eccentricity while increasingly pooling activity from local receptive fields. Here, we asked to what extent an observer's performance on a scene-gist perception task depends on the contents of the scene as well as on the eccentricity of the scene. We manipulated the scene content by applying window and scotoma masks. In addition, we changed presentation eccentricity independent of image content by upscaling and downscaling the scenes. We find that discrimination is strongly affected when the scene is presented with a window of 5°, showing only the central part rather than the whole scene. Performance is, however, eccentricity scale independent provided that the same scene content is presented and a comparable area of the surface of primary visual cortex is activated. We furthermore show that this eccentricity scale independence holds for shorter presentation times, down to 17 ms in some scene-discrimination tasks, but not for the naturalness-discrimination task.
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