Detection of Gabor patterns of different sizes, shapes, phases and eccentricities

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Contrast thresholds of vertical Gabor patterns were measured as a function of their eccentricity, size, shape, and phase using a 2AFC method. The patterns were 4 c/deg and they were presented for 90 or 240 ms. Log thresholds increase linearly with eccentricity at a mean rate of 0.47 dB/wavelength. For patterns centered on the fovea, thresholds decrease as the area of the pattern increases over the entire standard deviation range of 12 wavelengths. The TvA functions are concave up on log-log coordinates. For small patterns there is an interaction between shape and size that depends on phase. Threshold contrast energy is a U-shaped function of area with a minimum in the vicinity of 0.4 wavelength indicating detection by small receptive fields. Observers can discriminate among patterns of different sizes when the patterns are at threshold indicating that more than one mechanism is involved. The results are accounted for by a model in which patterns excite an array of slightly elongated receptive fields that are identical except that their sensitivity decreases exponentially with eccentricity. Excitation is raised to a power and then summed linearly across receptive fields to determine the threshold. The results are equally well described by an internal-noise-limited model. The TvA functions are insufficient to separately estimate the noise and the exponent of the power function. However, an experiment that shows that mixing sizes within the trial sequence has no effect on thresholds, suggests that the limiting noise does not increase with the number of mechanisms monitored. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Foley, J. M., Varadharajan, S., Koh, C. C., & Farias, M. C. Q. (2007). Detection of Gabor patterns of different sizes, shapes, phases and eccentricities. Vision Research, 47(1), 85–107.

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