Abstract

Foveal and parafoveal contrast detection thresholds for Gabor and checkerboard targets were measured in white noise by means of a two-interval forced-choice paradigm. Two white-noise conditions were used: fixed and twin. In the fixed noise condition a single noise sample was presented in both intervals of all the trials. In the twin noise condition the same noise sample was used in the two intervals of a trial, but a new sample was generated for each trial. Fixed noise conditions usually resulted in lower thresholds than twin noise. Template learning models are presented that attribute this advantage of fixed over twin noise either to fixed memory templates’ reducing uncertainty by incorporation of the noise or to the introduction, by the learning process itself, of more variability in the twin noise condition. Quantitative predictions of the template learning process show that it contributes to the accelerating nonlinear increase in performance with signal amplitude at low signal-to-noise ratios.

© 1999 Optical Society of America

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