Detection of temporal structure depends on spatial structure

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Observers can more easily detect correlated patterns of temporal contrast modulation within hybrid visual images composed of two components when those components are drawn from the same original picture (Blake, R., and Yang, Y. (1997). Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 94, 7115-7119). To learn whether spatial phase is a mediating variable, we measured thresholds for detection of contrast modulation over time among component gratings while manipulating spatial phase among those components. In Experiment 1, observers more easily detected correlated contrast modulation when two component gratings were aligned in peaks-subtract phase. Experiment 2 showed that this phase-dependent detectability of synchronized contrast modulation is mediated by the phase-dependent, non-linear interaction among spatial frequency channels. The rigorous evaluation of several a priori reasonable hypotheses indicates that the phase-dependent detectability is not based on local spatial features such as local luminance, contrast or luminance gradient. Taken together, our results indicate that the spatial phase relationship and the temporal correlation of contrast modulation of two component gratings are both important for triggering facilitatory interaction between neural analyzers tuned to those gratings. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ltd.




Lee, S. H., & Blake, R. (1999). Detection of temporal structure depends on spatial structure. Vision Research, 39(18), 3033–3048.

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