Binocular contrast interactions: Dichoptic masking is not a single process

Daniel H. Baker*, Timothy S. Meese

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To decouple interocular suppression and binocular summation we varied the relative phase of mask and target in a 2IFC contrast-masking paradigm. In Experiment I, dichoptic mask gratings had the same orientation and spatial frequency as the target. For in-phase masking, suppression was strong (a log-log slope of ∼1) and there was weak facilitation at low mask contrasts. Anti-phase masking was weaker (a log-log slope of ∼0.7) and there was no facilitation. A two-stage model of contrast gain control [Meese, T.S., Georgeson, M.A. and Baker, D.H. (2006). Binocular contrast vision at and above threshold. Journal of Vision, 6: 1224-1243] provided a good fit to the in-phase results and fixed its free parameters. It made successful predictions (with no free parameters) for the anti-phase results when (A) interocular suppression was phase-indifferent but (B) binocular summation was phase sensitive. Experiments II and III showed that interocular suppression comprised two components: (i) a tuned effect with an orientation bandwidth of ∼±33° and a spatial frequency bandwidth of >3 octaves, and (ii) an untuned effect that elevated threshold by a factor of between 2 and 4. Operationally, binocular summation was more tightly tuned, having an orientation bandwidth of ∼±8°, and a spatial frequency bandwidth of ∼0.5 octaves. Our results replicate the unusual shapes of the in-phase dichoptic tuning functions reported by Legge [Legge, G.E. (1979). Spatial frequency masking in human vision: Binocular interactions. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 69: 838-847]. These can now be seen as the envelope of the direct effects from interocular suppression and the indirect effect from binocular summation, which contaminates the signal channel with a mask that has been suppressed by the target. © 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3096-3107
Number of pages12
JournalVision Research
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Vision Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Baker, Daniel H. and Meese, Timothy S. (2007). Binocular contrast interactions: dichoptic masking is not a single process. Vision Research, 47 (24), pp. 3096-3107. DOI 10.1016/j.visres.2007.08.013


  • binocular summation
  • dichoptic masking
  • grating contrast
  • orientation
  • phase
  • spatial frequency


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