Detection performance was measured with sinusoidal and pulse-train gratings. Although the 2.09-cycles-per-degree pulse-train, or line, grating contained at least eight harmonics all at equal contrast, it was no more detectable than its most detectable component. The addition of broadband pink noise designed to equalize the detectability of the components of the pulse train made the pulse train approximately a factor of 4 more detectable than any of its components. However, in contrast-discrimination experiments, with a pedestal or masking grating of the same form and phase as the signal and with 15% contrast, the noise did not affect the discrimination performance of the pulse train relative to that obtained with its sinusoidal components. We discuss the implications of these observations for models of early vision, in particular the implications for possible sources of internal noise.
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