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Vision Res. 2002 Sep;42(19):2311-29.

Properties of second-order spatial frequency channels.

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Department of Psychology and Center for Neural Science, New York University, 6 Washington Place, 8th floor, New York, NY 10003, USA.


The segregation of texture patterns may be carried out by a set of linear spatial filters (to enhance one of the constituent textures), a nonlinearity (to convert the higher contrast of response to that constituent to a higher mean response), and finally subsequent ("second-order") linear spatial filters (to provide a strong response to the texture-defined edge itself). In this paper, the properties of such second-order filters are characterized. Observers were required to detect or discriminate textures that were modulated between predominantly horizontally oriented and predominantly vertically oriented noise patterns. Spatial summation for these patterns reached asymptote for a stimulus size of 15 x 15 deg. Modulation contrast sensitivity was nearly flat over a five-octave range of spatial frequency, but was bandpass when stated as efficiency (relative to an idealized observer confronted with the same task). Increment threshold showed the improved performance with a sub-threshold pedestal seen in the "dipper effect", but the typical Weber's law behavior at higher pedestal contrasts was not observed at the highest pedestal modulation contrasts achievable with our stimuli. Sub-threshold summation experiments indicate that second-order filters have a moderate bandwidth.

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