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Oliver J. Flynn, Brett G. Jeffrey; Scotopic contour and shape discrimination using radial frequency patterns. Journal of Vision 2019;19(2):7. doi: 10.1167/19.2.7.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Radial frequency (RF) patterns are valuable tools for investigations of contour integration and shape discrimination. Under photopic conditions, healthy observers can detect deformations from circularity in RF patterns as small as 3 seconds of arc. Such fine discrimination may be facilitated by cortical curvature detectors or global shape-detecting mechanisms that favor a closed contour. Rods make up 95% of photoreceptors in the retina, but we know very little about how spatial information is processed by rod-mediated pathways. We measured scotopic radial deformation discrimination using both full and partly occluded RF pattern stimuli. We found radial deformation thresholds of around 2–3 minutes of arc for stimuli with a wide range of radii and RFs. When parts of the stimulus were occluded, scotopic thresholds improved up to the point that three or four cycles of modulation were visible; no further improvement occurred with the addition of more visible cycles. When only one to three cycles were visible, an increase in curvature per cycle became important, allowing observers to detect smaller deformations from circularity. Our results indicate that the scotopic radial deformation thresholds for the stimuli tested are not dependent on global circularity cues but are instead mediated by local curvature cues.
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