Brightness assimilation in bullseye displays

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Abstract

In simultaneous brightness contrast displays, a gray target square G B bordered by black appears brighter than an identical gray target square GW bordered by white. Here we demonstrate that this effect can be reversed if GB is surrounded by bands that alternate outward from black to white, while GW is surrounded by bands that alternate outward from white to black. With these simple "bullseye" displays assimilation generally occurs - GB appears darker than G W. Experiments 1 and 2 used a 2AFC design with a 2.2 s display duration. The results of these experiments indicate that (i) substantial assimilation occurs for target Weber contrasts (relative to the gray background) of -0.25, 0, and 0.25, but assimilation was maximal when target contrast was -0.25 and decreased as target contrast increased, (ii) assimilation effects were the same whether the width of the four surround bands was 20% of the target or 40% of the target, and (iii) assimilation occurs with as few as 2 surround-bands and the magnitude of the effect increases slightly as the number of bands increase. When experiment 1 was re-run using the method of matching (experiment 3), however, the results changed dramatically: (moderate) assimilation effects were found only when target contrast was -0.25; when target contrast was 0.25, there was a brightness contrast effect; when target contrast was 0, there was no illusion. Assimilation effects in bullseye displays are not predicted by the CSF model described in DeValois and DeValois [Spatial Vision, Oxford University Press, New York, 1988], the anchoring model of Gilchrist et al. [Psychological Review, 106(4) (1999) 795], or Blakeslee and McCourt's [Vision Research 39 (1999) 4361] ODOG model. We propose that this assimilation effect is the result of a contrast inhibition mechanism similar to that proposed by Chubb et al. [Proceedings for the National Academy of Science, vol. 86, 1989, p. 9631] to underlie contrast effects. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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Bindman, D., & Chubb, C. (2004). Brightness assimilation in bullseye displays. Vision Research, 44(3), 309–319. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6989(03)00430-9

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