Abstract

The visual system has separable visual encoding for luminance and for contrast modulation [J. Vis. 8(1), B152 (2008) [CrossRef]  ]; the two dimensions can be represented with a luminance contrast versus luminance plane. Here we use a contrast asynchrony paradigm to explore contextual effects on luminance contrast modulation: two identical rectangular bars (0.5°×2.5°) have luminance levels that modulate at 2 Hz; when one bar is placed on a bright field and the other bar on a dark field, observers perceive the bars modulating in antiphase with each other and yet becoming light and dark at the same time. The antiphase perception corresponds to the change in contrast between the bars and their surrounds (a change along the contrast axis of the plane); the in-phase perception corresponds to the luminance modulation (a change along the luminance axis of the plane). We examine spatial interaction by adding bright rectangular (0.5°×2.5°) flankers on both sides of the dark-field bar and dark flankers on both sides of the bright-field bar. Remarkably, flankers produce an in-phase appearance when separated from the bars by between 2 and 4 of visual angle, and produce antiphase appearance when they directly adjoin the bars or are separated by more than 8. To estimate the dimensions of the spatial interaction, we parametrically adjust the size of the gap between bars and flankers and the length of the flankers. We attempt to account for the results with models based on rectified difference of Gaussian filters and with rectified oriented difference of Gaussian filters. The models can account for the results when the flankers are the same height as bars, but are unable to account for the effects of increasing the flanker length. The models therefore suggest that the spatial interaction across distances requires more complex interactions of contrast filters.

© 2018 Optical Society of America

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