Evidence for edge and bar detectors in human vision

David C. Burr, M. Concetta Morrone, Donatella Spinelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The structure of receptive fields of human visual detectors was investigated by studying their phase response. Observers were required to discriminate between pairs of periodic stimuli that differed in phase by 180° (reversed in contrast). The stimuli comprised 256 harmonics, smoothly filtered in amplitude, and congruent in phase at the origin. Reversal discrimination thresholds were measured as a function of the phase of the harmonics. Thresholds were slightly higher for phases around 45°, consistent with the idea that all discriminations were mediated by independent detectors with 0 or 90° phase response (assuming probability summation between them). Discrimination thresholds were also measured with a pedestal stimulus, of phase complementary to that of the test gratings. For discriminations between 0 and 180° (cosine phase), or 90 and 270° (sine phase), the complementary pedestal had little effect, implying independence of detectors in sine and cosine phase. However, for discrimination between 45 and 225° (stimuli containing both sine and cosine components) the complementary pedestal, which also contained both sine and cosine components, facilitated greatly discrimination thresholds. The results suggest that there exist two classes of detectors, one with a Fourier phase spectrum of 0, the other with a Fourier phase spectrum of 90°. This implies that the receptive fields are symmetric, one class having even-symmetry (line-detectors), the other odd-symmetry (edge-detectors).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-431
Number of pages13
JournalVision Research
Volume29
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1989

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Visual Fields
Discrimination (Psychology)

Keywords

  • Edge detectors
  • Phase
  • Receptive fields
  • Symmetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

Cite this

Evidence for edge and bar detectors in human vision. / Burr, David C.; Morrone, M. Concetta; Spinelli, Donatella.

In: Vision Research, Vol. 29, No. 4, 1989, p. 419-431.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Burr, David C. ; Morrone, M. Concetta ; Spinelli, Donatella. / Evidence for edge and bar detectors in human vision. In: Vision Research. 1989 ; Vol. 29, No. 4. pp. 419-431.
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