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Atten Percept Psychophys. 2017 Feb;79(2):553-562. doi: 10.3758/s13414-016-1251-z.

A neurophysiological explanation for biases in visual localization.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Box 351525, Seattle, WA, 98195-1525, USA. jamesm37@uw.edu.
2
Department of Psychology, University of Washington, Box 351525, Seattle, WA, 98195-1525, USA.

Abstract

Observers show small but systematic deviations from equal weighting of all elements when asked to localize the center of an array of dots. Counter-intuitively, with small numbers of dots drawn from a Gaussian distribution, this bias results in subjects overweighting the influence of outlier dots - inconsistent with traditional statistical estimators of central tendency. Here we show that this apparent statistical anomaly can be explained by the observation that outlier dots also lie in regions of lower dot density. Using a standard model of V1 processing, which includes spatial integration followed by a compressive static nonlinearity, we can successfully predict the finding that dots in less dense regions of an array have a relatively greater influence on the perceived center.

KEYWORDS:

Localization; Mid-level mechanisms; Robust statistics; Summary statistics; Vision

PMID:
27909979
DOI:
10.3758/s13414-016-1251-z
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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