Second-order spatial frequency and orientation channels in human vision

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We compared the number of spatial frequency and orientation mechanisms underlying first- versus second-order processing by measuring discrimination at detection threshold for first- and second-order Gabors to determine the smallest difference in spatial frequency and orientation that permits accurate discrimination at threshold. For second-order gratings, the number of channels is the same as for first-order gratings for spatial frequencies up to about 2 cpd; however, there are fewer second-order channels at higher spatial frequencies. In contrast, the number of labeled channels for orientation is the same for first- and second-order gratings. In conclusion, our findings provide evidence for distinct spatial frequency and orientation labeled detectors in second-order visual processing. We also show that, relative to first-order, there are fewer second-order channels processing higher spatial frequencies. This is consistent with a filter-rectify-filter scheme for second-order in which the second stage of filtering is at lower spatial frequencies. © 2006 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Ellemberg, D., Allen, H. A., & Hess, R. F. (2006). Second-order spatial frequency and orientation channels in human vision. Vision Research, 46(17), 2798–2803.

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