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J Physiol. 1966 Nov;187(2):437-45.

Orientational selectivity of the human visual system.

Abstract

1. It is known that an object is less detectable when it is viewed against a background containing structures similar to the object. The effect of changing the orientation between the object and background is investigated.2. Gratings of variable contrast were generated on two oscilloscopes; these were superimposed optically. The angle of orientation between them could be changed. The threshold of one grating, the test grating, was determined in the presence of the other, the masking grating.3. When the gratings were presented with the same orientation (and locked in phase) the increment threshold of the test grating was found to be proportional to the suprathreshold contrast of the masking grating.4. As the angle between the test and masking gratings was increased the masking effect fell exponentially.5. At 12 degrees on either side of a vertical test grating the masking effect was reduced by a factor of two with respect to its maximum value. This angle was independent of the contrast level of masking, the focus, and also the phase coherence of the masking grating.6. If the test grating was presented obliquely the effect of masking was slightly less.7. The narrow orientationally tuned channels found psychophysically by this masking technique are compared with the orientationally sensitive cells discovered electrophysiologically in the visual cortex of the cat.

PMID:
5972183
PMCID:
PMC1395934
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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