Abstract

It is well known that adjacent contours can reduce the visual acuity of single letters. Although this has traditionally been considered only in terms of a neural-based interaction, it has recently been suggested that the information content in the stimulus may account for the interaction. Here we ask the question, “Do similar interference effects occur for the discrimination of low-contrast letters whose size is larger than that corresponding to the resolution limit?” If so, previous acuity-based interaction results may be of more general importance. We show that while there are interference effects of nearby contours, they are of a form different from that observed at the resolution limit. In particular, the contrast polarity of the nearby contour is unimportant, which in turn suggests that a physical explanation is inappropriate. Also, the discrimination of an easily resolvable, unflanked Landolt C target requires information over a much wider spatial-frequency range than its counterpart at the resolution limit.

© 2001 Optical Society of America

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