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Vision Res. 1985;25(12):1869-78.

Separate detectors for simple and complex grating patterns?


Grating having two sinusoidal components show a periodic variation in contrast which is visible as a "beat" pattern. The spatial frequency of the beat is the difference between the frequencies of the two components. Thresholds for a number of detection and discrimination tasks were measured using beat patterns of 1 c/deg (with components of 9 and 10 c/deg), and gratings of 1 and 10 c/deg. Temporal modulation at 6 Hz lowered detection thresholds for 1 c/deg gratings, but not for beats or 10 c/deg gratings. The effect of contrast on the range of temporal frequencies over which direction of movement can be discriminated differs for the three types of pattern: beats resemble neither low nor high spatial frequency gratings. Low and (for 2 of 3 observers) high spatial frequency gratings, but not beat patterns, are susceptible to a movement after effect induced by a low spatial-frequency grating. Beat patterns induce little or no movement after effect. We conclude that beat patterns are not detected by the same mechanisms that detect simple gratings.

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