Contextual modulation involves suppression and facilitation from the center and the surround

Timothy S. Meese*, Robert J. Summers, David J. Holmes, Stuart A. Wallis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In psychophysics, cross-orientation suppression (XOS) and cross-orientation facilitation (XOF) have been measured by investigating mask configuration on the detection threshold of a centrally placed patch of sine-wave grating. Much of the evidence for XOS and XOF comes from studies using low and high spatial frequencies, respectively, where the interactions are thought to arise from within (XOS) and outside (XOF) the footprint of the classical receptive field. We address the relation between these processes here by measuring the effects of various sizes of superimposed and annular cross-oriented masks on detection thresholds at two spatial scales (1 and 7 c/deg) and on contrast increment thresholds at 7 c/deg. A functional model of our results indicates the following (1) XOS and XOF both occur for superimposed and annular masks. (2) XOS declines with spatial frequency but XOF does not. (3) The spatial extent of the interactions does not scale with spatial frequency, meaning that surround-effects are seen primarily at high spatial frequencies. (4) There are two distinct processes involved in XOS: direct divisive suppression and modulation of self-suppression. (5) Whether XOS or XOF wins out depends upon their relative weights and mask contrast. These results prompt enquiry into the effect of spatial frequency at the single-cell level and place new constraints on image-processing models of early visual processing. © ARVO.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2007

Bibliographical note

Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License


  • contrast gain control
  • human vision
  • lateral interactions
  • masking
  • model


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