Abstract

Our goal in this paper was to measure psychophysically the receptive-field size of motion units in human vision. To this aim, length and width spatial summation functions were measured for drifting (8-Hz) sinusoidal gratings of spatial frequencies 0.1, 1.0, and 10.0 cycles per degree (c/deg) with two threshold criteria: direction discrimination and simple detection. For each spatial frequency, contrast sensitivity for detection of the direction of drift increased with increasing stimulus size (length or width), at first rapidly (slope ≥ 1.0) and then more gradually (slope 0.29). For most stimuli, the detection and direction-discrimination contrast thresholds were nearly the same. However, for stimuli severely curtailed in width, significantly more contrast was required for direction discrimination than for detection. These results were predicted with a summation model, which incorporated three-dimensional (space–space–time) linear input filters, and probability summation over space and among different filter types. The fit of the model gave an estimate of both the receptive-field length and width of motion-detector units in human vision. At each spatial frequency, the estimates of receptive-field width and length were similar, indicating that the receptive fields of motion-detector units are as long as they are wide at all spatial scales. Receptive-field size varied from approximately 0.12 cycle at 0.1 c/deg to 0.52 cycle at 10.0 c/deg.

© 1991 Optical Society of America

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