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Nature. 1985 Jan 24-30;313(6000):308-10.

Loss of spatial phase relationships in extrafoveal vision.


Objects in peripheral vision are not simply blurred but lack quality of form. Assuming that the visual system performs a (patchwise) Fourier analysis of the retinal image (for review see ref. 2), it has been suggested that this disadvantage of peripheral vision may be due to the inability to encode properly spatial phase relationships. This is of great interest for neurological research as certain visual pathologies imply alterations of perceived form. Previous attempts at measuring phase sensitivities failed to distinguish between the detection of phase-related changes in contrast and phase coding in the visual system. We separated these processing strategies by applying the iso-second-order texture paradigm of Julesz to the discrimination of compound gratings. Our results, reported here, show that the energy detection properties of both foveal and peripheral vision are comparable, however, independently of scale, peripheral vision ignores the relative position of image components.

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