The interaction of luminance and texture amplitude in depth perception

Gillian S. Barbieri-Hesse, Andrew Schofield, Mark Georgeson

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstractpeer-review


Previous studies have suggested separate channels for the detection of first-order luminance (LM) and second-order modulations of the local amplitude (AM) of a texture (Schofield and Georgeson, 1999 Vision Research 39 2697 - 2716; Georgeson and Schofield, 2002 Spatial Vision 16 59). It has also been shown that LM and AM mixtures with different phase relationships are easily separated in identification tasks, and (informally) appear very different with the in-phase compound (LM + AM), producing the most realistic depth percept. We investigated the role of these LM and AM components in depth perception. Stimuli consisted of a noise texture background with thin bars formed as local increments or decrements in luminance and/or noise amplitude. These stimuli appear as embossed surfaces with wide and narrow regions. When luminance and amplitude changes have the same sign and magnitude (LM + AM) the overall modulation is consistent with multiplicative shading, but this is not so when the two modulations have opposite sign (LM - AM). Keeping the AM modulation depth fixed at a suprathreshold level, we determined the amount of luminance contrast required for observers to correctly indicate the width (narrow or wide) of raised regions in the display. Performance (compared to the LM-only case) was facilitated by the presence of AM, but, unexpectedly, performance for LM - AM was even better than for LM + AM. Further tests suggested that this improvement in performance is not due to an increase in the detectability of luminance in the compound stimuli. Thus, contrary to previous findings, these results suggest the possibility of interaction between first-order and second-order mechanisms in depth perception.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)756
Number of pages1
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004
EventMovements and moments in vision research. 8th Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting - Aston University, Birmingham (UK)
Duration: 17 Dec 2003 → …

Bibliographical note

Abstract published in Eighth Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting, Perception, 33 (6), p. 756, ISSN: 0001-4966.


  • detection of first-order luminance
  • second-order modulations
  • local amplitude
  • texture
  • identification
  • depth perception


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