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Xiaomao Ding, Ana Radonjić, Nicolas P. Cottaris, Haomiao Jiang, Brian A. Wandell, David H. Brainard; Computational-observer analysis of illumination discrimination. Journal of Vision 2019;19(7):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.7.11.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The spectral properties of the ambient illumination provide useful information about time of day and weather. We study the perceptual representation of illumination by analyzing measurements of how well people discriminate between illuminations across scene configurations. More specifically, we compare human performance to a computational-observer analysis that evaluates the information available in the isomerizations of cone photopigment in a model human photoreceptor mosaic. The performance of such an observer is limited by the Poisson variability of the number of isomerizations in each cone. The overall level of Poisson-limited computational-observer sensitivity exceeded that of human observers. This was modeled by increasing the amount of noise in the number of isomerizations of each cone. The additional noise brought the overall level of performance of the computational observer into the same range as that of human observers, allowing us to compare the pattern of sensitivity across stimulus manipulations. Key patterns of human performance were not accounted for by the computational observer. In particular, neither the elevation of illumination-discrimination thresholds for illuminant changes in a blue color direction (when thresholds are expressed in CIELUV ΔE units), nor the effects of varying the ensemble of surfaces in the scenes being viewed, could be accounted for by variation in the information available in the cone isomerizations.
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