Sharpness overconstancy: The roles of visibility and current context

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In a previous study we found that blurred edges presented in peripheral vision look sharper than when they are looked at directly, a phenomenon we have called peripheral sharpness overconstancy (Galvin et al. (1997). Vision Research, 37, 2035-2039). In the current study we show that when visibility of the stimulus edges is compromised by very brief presentations, we can demonstrate sharpness overconstancy for static, foveal viewing. We also test whether the degree of sharpening is a function of the current visual context, but find no difference between the peripheral sharpness overconstancy (at 24°eccentricity) of edges measured in a blurred context and that measured in a sharp context. We conclude that if the visual system does carry a template for sharp edges which contributes to edge appearance when visibility is poor, then that template is resistant to changes in context.




Galvin, S. J., O’Shea, R. P., Squire, A. M., & Hailstone, D. S. (1999). Sharpness overconstancy: The roles of visibility and current context. Vision Research, 39(16), 2649–2657.

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