Abstract

Previous studies of spatial frequency and orientation discrimination [ Vision Res. 32, 1885 ( 1992)] suggest the existence of two second-order cortical mechanisms: one that mediates spatial frequency discriminations and sums signals across orientations and one that mediates orientation discriminations and sums signals across spatial frequency bands. The existence of each mechanism is tested in an uncertainty experiment in which the observer does not know which of two hypothetically pooled signals deviates from the standard but must judge whether the deviation is an increment or a decrement. No uncertainty effect is expected if the signals are completely pooled. Observed effects are compared with this expectation and with both theoretical and empirical estimates of the effects expected if the signals are processed separately. Results support the existence of the first mechanism, but not its exclusive role in mediating spatial frequency judgments, and support the exclusive role of the second mechanism in mediating orientation judgments.

© 1996 Optical Society of America

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