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Sci Rep. 2017 Oct 12;7(1):13048. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-13244-z.

The equivalent internal orientation and position noise for contour integration.

Author information

1
McGill Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. alexsbaldwin@googlemail.com.
2
McGill Vision Research, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Abstract

Contour integration is the joining-up of local responses to parts of a contour into a continuous percept. In typical studies observers detect contours formed of discrete wavelets, presented against a background of random wavelets. This measures performance for detecting contours in the limiting external noise that background provides. Our novel task measures contour integration without requiring any background noise. This allowed us to perform noise-masking experiments using orientation and position noise. From these we measure the equivalent internal noise for contour integration. We found an orientation noise of 6° and position noise of 3 arcmin. Orientation noise was 2.6x higher in contour integration compared to an orientation discrimination control task. Comparing against a position discrimination task found position noise in contours to be 2.4x lower. This suggests contour integration involves intermediate processing that enhances the quality of element position representation at the expense of element orientation. Efficiency relative to the ideal observer was lower for the contour tasks (36% in orientation noise, 21% in position noise) compared to the controls (54% and 57%).

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