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Chou P. Hung, Chloe Callahan-Flintoft, Paul D. Fedele, Kim F. Fluitt, Onyekachi Odoemene, Anthony J. Walker, Andre V. Harrison, Barry D. Vaughan, Matthew S. Jaswa, Min Wei; Abrupt darkening under high dynamic range (HDR) luminance invokes facilitation for high-contrast targets and grouping by luminance similarity. Journal of Vision 2020;20(7):9. https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.7.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
When scanning across a scene, luminance can vary by up to 100,000-to-1 (high dynamic range, HDR), requiring multiple normalizing mechanisms spanning from the retina to the cortex to support visual acuity and recognition. Vision models based on standard dynamic range (SDR) luminance contrast ratios below 100-to-1 have limited ability to generalize to real-world scenes with HDR luminance. To characterize how orientation and luminance are linked in brain mechanisms for luminance normalization, we measured orientation discrimination of Gabor targets under HDR luminance dynamics. We report a novel phenomenon, that abrupt 10- to 100-fold darkening engages contextual facilitation, distorting the apparent orientation of a high-contrast central target. Surprisingly, facilitation was influenced by grouping by luminance similarity, as well as by the degree of luminance variability in the surround. These results challenge vision models based solely on activity normalization and raise new questions that will lead to models that perform better in real-world scenes.
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