The interaction of luminance and texture amplitude in surface depth perception

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

Research output: Contribution to journalConference abstractpeer-review


Previous studies have suggested separate channels for detection of first-order luminance modulations (LM) and second-order modulations of the local amplitude (AM) of a texture. Mixtures of LM and AM with different phase relationships appear very different: in-phase compounds (LM + AM) look like 3-D corrugated surfaces, while out-of-phase compounds (LM - AM) appear flat and/or transparent. This difference may arise because the in-phase compounds are consistent with multiplicative shading, while the out-of-phase compounds are not. We investigated the role of these modulation components in surface depth perception. We used a textured background with thin bars formed by local changes in luminance and/or texture amplitude. These stimuli appear as embossed surfaces with wide and narrow regions. 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 as good as for LM + AM. Thus, these results suggest that there is an interaction between first-order and second-order mechanisms during depth perception based on shading cues, but the phase dependence is not yet understood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53
Number of pages1
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2004
EventECPV 2004. 27th European Conference on Visual Perception - Budapest (HU)
Duration: 22 Aug 200426 Aug 2004


  • separate channels for detection
  • first-order luminance modulations
  • and second-order modulations
  • local amplitude
  • texture
  • in-phase compounds
  • out-of-phase compounds
  • multiplicative shading
  • surface depth perception


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