Abstract

The interaction of the effects of luminance and spatial frequency on perception of suprathreshold contrast was studied with use of a contrast-matching paradigm. Four subjects matched the appearance of Gabor patches at different luminances and spatial frequencies. The contrast of a 1-octave Gabor test patch at one of five frequencies [1–16 cycles/degree (c/deg) in 1-octave steps] and at one of seven mean luminance levels (0.5–50 cd/m2 in 1/3-log-unit steps) was matched, by the method of adjustment to a standard patch of 3 c/deg at 50 cd/m2 at a nominal contrast of 0.3. For each block of trials the spatial frequency of the test patch was randomly changed (three repetitions at each frequency per block) while the luminance was fixed. The subject regularly shifted fixation between the two targets in response to a metronome tone every 1.5 s. Contrast constancy was demonstrated across the entire luminance range tested for all but the two highest frequencies. For 8 c/deg the perceived test contrast was reduced only when the luminance was less than 2 cd/m2. For 16 c/deg, perceived contrast decreased linearly (with a slope of −1/2 on a log scale) with decreases in luminance across the entire luminance range. As at threshold, reduction in luminance across the levels commonly available on a CRT display has only minimal effects on low-frequency suprathreshold contrast perception. However, the apparent contrast of high-frequency features, in binocular free-viewing conditions, is rapidly reduced with a local reduction in screen luminance. This effect has important implications for visual models used in image-quality analysis.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

Full Article  |  PDF Article

References

  • View by:
  • |
  • |
  • |

  1. M. A. Georgeson, G. D. Sullivan, “Contrast constancy: deblurring in human vision by spatial frequency channels,” J. Physiol. (London) 252, 627–656 (1975).
  2. J. J. Kulikowski, “Effective contrast constancy and linearity of contrast sensation,” Vision Res. 16, 1419–1431 (1976).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  3. M. W. Cannon, “Perceived contrast in the fovea and periphery,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 2, 1760–1768 (1985).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. R. F. Hess, “The Edridge-Green Lecture: Vision at low light levels: role of spatial, temporal and contrast filters,” Ophthalmic Physiol. Opt. 10, 351–359 (1990).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  5. E. Peli, J. Yang, R. Goldstein, A. Reeves, “Effect of luminance on suprathreshold contrast perception,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 8, 1352–1359 (1991).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. D. A. Burkhardt, J. Gottesman, D. Kersten, G. E. Legge, “Symmetry and constancy in the perception of negative and positive luminance contrast,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 1, 309–316 (1984).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. F. L. van Nes, M. A. Bouman, “Spatial modulation transfer in the human eye,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 57, 401–406 (1967).
    [CrossRef]
  8. E. Peli, “Simulating normal and low vision,” in Vision Models for Target Detection and Recognition, E. Peli, ed. (World Scientific, Singapore, 1995), Vol. 2, pp. 63–87.
    [CrossRef]
  9. J. Lubin, “A visual discrimination model for imaging system design and evaluation,” in Vision Models for Target Detection and Recognition, E. Peli, ed. (World Scientific, Singapore, 1995), Vol. 2, pp. 245–283.
    [CrossRef]
  10. A. B. Watson, H. B. Barlow, J. G. Robson, “What does the eye see best?” Nature 302, 419–422 (1983).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  11. E. Peli, “Suprathreshold contrast perception across differences in mean luminance: effects of stimulus size, dichoptic presentation, and length of adaptation,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 12, 817–823 (1995).
    [CrossRef]
  12. A. S. Patel, “Spatial resolution by the human visual system. The effect of mean retinal illuminance,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. 56, 689–694 (1966).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  13. A. R. Biondini, M. L. F. de Mattiello, “Suprathreshold contrast perception at different luminance levels,” Vision Res. 25, 1–9 (1985).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  14. B. R. Stephens, M. S. Banks, “The development of contrast constancy,” J. Exp. Child. Psychol. 40, 528–547 (1985).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  15. Gordon Legge, University of Minnesota, 75 E. River Rd., Minneapolis, Minn. 55455 (personal communication, December1994).
  16. L. E. Arend, B. Spehar, “Lightness, brightness, and brightness contrast: 1. Illuminance variation,” Percept. Psychophys. 54, 446–456 (1993).
    [CrossRef] [PubMed]

1995 (1)

1993 (1)

L. E. Arend, B. Spehar, “Lightness, brightness, and brightness contrast: 1. Illuminance variation,” Percept. Psychophys. 54, 446–456 (1993).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1991 (1)

1990 (1)

R. F. Hess, “The Edridge-Green Lecture: Vision at low light levels: role of spatial, temporal and contrast filters,” Ophthalmic Physiol. Opt. 10, 351–359 (1990).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1985 (3)

M. W. Cannon, “Perceived contrast in the fovea and periphery,” J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 2, 1760–1768 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

A. R. Biondini, M. L. F. de Mattiello, “Suprathreshold contrast perception at different luminance levels,” Vision Res. 25, 1–9 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

B. R. Stephens, M. S. Banks, “The development of contrast constancy,” J. Exp. Child. Psychol. 40, 528–547 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1984 (1)

1983 (1)

A. B. Watson, H. B. Barlow, J. G. Robson, “What does the eye see best?” Nature 302, 419–422 (1983).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1976 (1)

J. J. Kulikowski, “Effective contrast constancy and linearity of contrast sensation,” Vision Res. 16, 1419–1431 (1976).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

1975 (1)

M. A. Georgeson, G. D. Sullivan, “Contrast constancy: deblurring in human vision by spatial frequency channels,” J. Physiol. (London) 252, 627–656 (1975).

1967 (1)

1966 (1)

Arend, L. E.

L. E. Arend, B. Spehar, “Lightness, brightness, and brightness contrast: 1. Illuminance variation,” Percept. Psychophys. 54, 446–456 (1993).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Banks, M. S.

B. R. Stephens, M. S. Banks, “The development of contrast constancy,” J. Exp. Child. Psychol. 40, 528–547 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Barlow, H. B.

A. B. Watson, H. B. Barlow, J. G. Robson, “What does the eye see best?” Nature 302, 419–422 (1983).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Biondini, A. R.

A. R. Biondini, M. L. F. de Mattiello, “Suprathreshold contrast perception at different luminance levels,” Vision Res. 25, 1–9 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Bouman, M. A.

Burkhardt, D. A.

Cannon, M. W.

de Mattiello, M. L. F.

A. R. Biondini, M. L. F. de Mattiello, “Suprathreshold contrast perception at different luminance levels,” Vision Res. 25, 1–9 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Georgeson, M. A.

M. A. Georgeson, G. D. Sullivan, “Contrast constancy: deblurring in human vision by spatial frequency channels,” J. Physiol. (London) 252, 627–656 (1975).

Goldstein, R.

Gottesman, J.

Hess, R. F.

R. F. Hess, “The Edridge-Green Lecture: Vision at low light levels: role of spatial, temporal and contrast filters,” Ophthalmic Physiol. Opt. 10, 351–359 (1990).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Kersten, D.

Kulikowski, J. J.

J. J. Kulikowski, “Effective contrast constancy and linearity of contrast sensation,” Vision Res. 16, 1419–1431 (1976).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Legge, G. E.

Legge, Gordon

Gordon Legge, University of Minnesota, 75 E. River Rd., Minneapolis, Minn. 55455 (personal communication, December1994).

Lubin, J.

J. Lubin, “A visual discrimination model for imaging system design and evaluation,” in Vision Models for Target Detection and Recognition, E. Peli, ed. (World Scientific, Singapore, 1995), Vol. 2, pp. 245–283.
[CrossRef]

Patel, A. S.

Peli, E.

Reeves, A.

Robson, J. G.

A. B. Watson, H. B. Barlow, J. G. Robson, “What does the eye see best?” Nature 302, 419–422 (1983).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Spehar, B.

L. E. Arend, B. Spehar, “Lightness, brightness, and brightness contrast: 1. Illuminance variation,” Percept. Psychophys. 54, 446–456 (1993).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Stephens, B. R.

B. R. Stephens, M. S. Banks, “The development of contrast constancy,” J. Exp. Child. Psychol. 40, 528–547 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Sullivan, G. D.

M. A. Georgeson, G. D. Sullivan, “Contrast constancy: deblurring in human vision by spatial frequency channels,” J. Physiol. (London) 252, 627–656 (1975).

van Nes, F. L.

Watson, A. B.

A. B. Watson, H. B. Barlow, J. G. Robson, “What does the eye see best?” Nature 302, 419–422 (1983).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Yang, J.

J. Exp. Child. Psychol. (1)

B. R. Stephens, M. S. Banks, “The development of contrast constancy,” J. Exp. Child. Psychol. 40, 528–547 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. Opt. Soc. Am. (2)

J. Opt. Soc. Am. A (4)

J. Physiol. (London) (1)

M. A. Georgeson, G. D. Sullivan, “Contrast constancy: deblurring in human vision by spatial frequency channels,” J. Physiol. (London) 252, 627–656 (1975).

Nature (1)

A. B. Watson, H. B. Barlow, J. G. Robson, “What does the eye see best?” Nature 302, 419–422 (1983).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Ophthalmic Physiol. Opt. (1)

R. F. Hess, “The Edridge-Green Lecture: Vision at low light levels: role of spatial, temporal and contrast filters,” Ophthalmic Physiol. Opt. 10, 351–359 (1990).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Percept. Psychophys. (1)

L. E. Arend, B. Spehar, “Lightness, brightness, and brightness contrast: 1. Illuminance variation,” Percept. Psychophys. 54, 446–456 (1993).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Vision Res. (2)

A. R. Biondini, M. L. F. de Mattiello, “Suprathreshold contrast perception at different luminance levels,” Vision Res. 25, 1–9 (1985).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

J. J. Kulikowski, “Effective contrast constancy and linearity of contrast sensation,” Vision Res. 16, 1419–1431 (1976).
[CrossRef] [PubMed]

Other (3)

E. Peli, “Simulating normal and low vision,” in Vision Models for Target Detection and Recognition, E. Peli, ed. (World Scientific, Singapore, 1995), Vol. 2, pp. 63–87.
[CrossRef]

J. Lubin, “A visual discrimination model for imaging system design and evaluation,” in Vision Models for Target Detection and Recognition, E. Peli, ed. (World Scientific, Singapore, 1995), Vol. 2, pp. 245–283.
[CrossRef]

Gordon Legge, University of Minnesota, 75 E. River Rd., Minneapolis, Minn. 55455 (personal communication, December1994).

Cited By

OSA participates in CrossRef's Cited-By Linking service. Citing articles from OSA journals and other participating publishers are listed here.

Alert me when this article is cited.


Figures (6)

Fig. 1
Fig. 1

Illustration of the display used in the contrast-matching study. Two Gabor patches at different luminance levels and spatial frequencies are matched by the subject for equal apparent contrast.

Fig. 2
Fig. 2

Contrast-detection-threshold data at different spatial frequencies as a function of luminance, for the four subjects, are plotted in the same way as by van Nes and Bouman,7 illustrating the interaction between spatial frequency and luminance effects. Note the increased sensitivity near the transition point from the Weber (flat section) to the de Vries–Rose range (slope = −0.5) for low frequencies, particularly for subjects AL, JI, and RL (thin dotted-line segment for the 1-c/deg condition).

Fig. 3
Fig. 3

Data from Fig. 2 replotted as a function of frequency, with luminance as a parameter, illustrating the typical transition from bandpass to low-pass characteristics at low luminance, with loss of sensitivity limited to moderate and high spatial frequencies.

Fig. 4
Fig. 4

Suprathreshold contrast-matching data as a function of luminance illustrate effects similar to those found at threshold. The low spatial frequencies (1–4 c/deg) show contrast constancy across the whole luminance range tested. The diagonal line represents a slope of −0.5. The two filled symbols for subject EF represent that these data were obtained from one session only.

Fig. 5
Fig. 5

Data from Fig. 4 replotted as function of frequency. For all subjects the data represent contrast constancy for the 10-cd/m2 condition (triangles) and a reduction of apparent contrast at high frequencies (low-pass) for the low-luminance [0.5-cd/m2 (squares)] condition. For the high-luminance condition (circles), two of the four subjects displayed contrast constancy, and two (AL and EF) presented an unexpected high-pass characteristic.

Fig. 6
Fig. 6

Changes for one subject in contrast-matching results following change of refraction, adaptation to new refraction, and return to contact lens correction with slightly reduced acuity.

Metrics