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Vision Res. 2016 May;122:66-72. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2016.02.006. Epub 2016 Apr 13.

Speed and the coherence of superimposed chromatic gratings.

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Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom; School of Psychology, University of Sussex, United Kingdom. Electronic address:
School of Psychology, Cardiff University, United Kingdom.
Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.


On the basis of measurements of the perceived coherence of superimposed drifting gratings, Krauskopf and Farell (1990) proposed that motion is analysed independently in different chromatic channels. They found that two gratings appeared to slip if each modulated one of the two 'cardinal' color mechanisms S/(L+M) and L/(L+M). If the gratings were defined along intermediate color directions, observers reported a plaid, moving coherently. We hypothesised that slippage might occur in chromatic gratings if the motion signal from the S/(L+M) channel is weak and equivalent to a lower speed. We asked observers to judge coherence in two conditions. In one, S/(L+M) and L/(L+M) gratings were physically the same speed. In the other, the two gratings had perceptually matched speeds. We found that the relative incoherence of cardinal gratings is the same whether gratings are physically or perceptually matched in speed. Thus our hypothesis was firmly contradicted. In a control condition, observers were asked to judge the coherence of stationary gratings. Interestingly, the difference in judged coherence between cardinal and intermediate gratings remained as strong as it was when the gratings moved. Our results suggest a possible alternative interpretation of Krauskopf and Farell's result: the processes of object segregation may precede the analysis of the motion of chromatic gratings, and the same grouping signals may prompt object segregation in the stationary and moving cases.


Cardinal mechanisms; Color; Isoluminance; Motion; Plaid perception

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