Abstract

We have studied the ability of observers to discriminate between suprathreshold vertical sinusoidal spatial-frequency gratings on the basis of spatial frequency. The results show that spatial-frequency discrimination is not a smooth function of spatial frequency but instead appears regularly segmented. Similar results were also obtained in an experiment in which observers discriminated between pairs of narrow vertical lines on the basis of their separation. Angular resolutions achieved for both discrimination tasks were less than the spacing between photoreceptors, requiring some type of neural interpolation. The similarity between the two sets of data indicates that discrimination between spatial-frequency gratings is probably based on the separation between two features exactly one cycle apart. We suggest that the segmentation reflects the existence of neural-image representations with discrete levels of spatial accuracy.

© 1982 Optical Society of America

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