Implicit masking constrained by spatial inhomogeneities

Academic Article


  • Human contrast sensitivities to gratings were measured within windows of 3, 9.1 and 61.5 deg at spatial frequencies down to the nominal frequency of 0 c/deg (i.e., a uniform field), and the resulting curves were related to the Fourier spectra of the corresponding windows and of spatial inhomogeneities in the visual pathway. The data show that sensitivity approaches an asymptote about 1.5 log units below peak sensitivity as spatial frequency decreases, the so-called low frequency cut. Computations show that the fundamentals of the test fields used here were detected and not their harmonics, and control experiments suggest that the edges of the gratings did not affect detection of the gratings. Most of the low frequency cut could be attributed to masking by the harmonics of the windows within which the gratings were introduced. The added contribution of the inhomogeneities in the retinal distribution of cones accounts for the remainder of the low frequency cut observed with the two smaller windows, and adding the effects of the inhomogeneities to the distribution of parvocellular ganglion cells accounts for the remainder of the low frequency attenuation with the largest field. Therefore, the attenuation of sensitivity to low frequencies that gives the contrast sensitivity curve its bandpass shape can be attributed entirely to implicit masking, i.e., to masking by the Fourier spectrum of the window within which the test grating is presented, after further spreading by retinal inhomogeneities.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Vision Research  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Yang J; Makous W
  • Start Page

  • 1917
  • End Page

  • 1927
  • Volume

  • 37
  • Issue

  • 14