September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
Spatial properties of the adaptation-based compression of perceived distance
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Ljubica Jovanovic
    School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  • Paul McGraw
    School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  • Neil Roach
    School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  • Alan Johnston
    School of Psychology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, UK
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  This work is supported by the Leverhulme Trust
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 1987. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.1987
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      Ljubica Jovanovic, Paul McGraw, Neil Roach, Alan Johnston; Spatial properties of the adaptation-based compression of perceived distance. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):1987. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.9.1987.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

To perceive geometric properties of external objects, the visual system must map their physical relations onto intrinsic, non-isomorphic neural representations. This mapping can be modified by adaptation: exposure to a texture reduces the perceived separation between objects (Hisakata, Nishida, & Johnston, 2016)⁠. Here we investigated the spatial reach of this effect. After presentation of an adaptor (a dynamic irregular grid of black and white dots), in either the left or right visual field, two pairs of dots appeared on either side of the fixation: a standard (1 dva separation) and a test pair (variable separation). Participants reported which pair appeared to have a greater inter-dot separation. To test the spatial tuning of the effect, the position of the standard relative to the adaptor varied. When presented in the adapted region, the standard appeared compressed by ~30%. The compression decreased (~10%) when the dots straddled the adaptor’s edge, and disappeared when the standard and adaptor were not-overlapping, suggesting a narrow tuning of the compression effect. To test whether the compression occurs in retinotopic or world-centered coordinates, participants shifted their gaze after the adaptation to an intermediate, and then to a final, test location. This allowed us to present the standard at either the same retinal or screen coordinates as the adaptor. Performance was compared to conditions where gaze remained fixed across adaptation and test periods, and the standard was presented either at adapted (full adaptation) or non-adapted (control) locations. We found evidence for both retinotopic and world-centered transfer of the distance compression, albeit with reduced magnitude (~50% and 70% relative to the full adaptation condition, respectively). The results suggest that mechanisms transforming external geometrical properties to neural representations can at least partly compensate for differences between retinal images and object positions in the external world induced by eye movements.

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