Fixed or variable noise in contrast discrimination? The jury's still out

Mark A. Georgeson, Timothy S. Meese

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract

The ability to distinguish one visual stimulus from another slightly different one depends on the variability of their internal representations. In a recent paper on human visual-contrast discrimination, Kontsevich et al (2002 Vision Research 42 1771 - 1784) re-considered the long-standing question whether the internal noise that limits discrimination is fixed (contrast-invariant) or variable (contrast-dependent). They tested discrimination performance for 3 cycles deg-1 gratings over a wide range of incremental contrast levels at three masking contrasts, and showed that a simple model with an expansive response function and response-dependent noise could fit the data very well. Their conclusion - that noise in visual-discrimination tasks increases markedly with contrast - has profound implications for our understanding and modelling of vision. Here, however, we re-analyse their data, and report that a standard gain-control model with a compressive response function and fixed additive noise can also fit the data remarkably well. Thus these experimental data do not allow us to decide between the two models. The question remains open. [Supported by EPSRC grant GR/S74515/01]
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusIn preparation - 2005
EventImages, Perception, and Psychophysics. 9th Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting - Aston University, Birmingham (UK)
Duration: 16 Dec 2004 → …

Other

OtherImages, Perception, and Psychophysics. 9th Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting
CityAston University, Birmingham (UK)
Period16/12/04 → …

Bibliographical note

Abstract published in Images, Perception, and Psychophysics, Perception, 34 (2), p.246, ISSB 0001-4966.

Keywords

  • visual stimulus
  • variability
  • internal representations
  • human visual-contrast discrimination
  • visual-discrimination
  • compressive response function
  • fixed additive noise

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