Size tuning and contextual modulation of backward contrast masking

The strength of contrast masking depends not only on spatial but also on temporal parameters. In a previous study (T. P. Saarela & M. H. Herzog, 2008), we showed that the detection of a briefly presented Gabor patch is most strongly impaired when an iso-oriented grating mask immediately follows the Gabor and that this masking effect is relieved when a surround is added to the mask. Here, we studied the spatial characteristics of this backward masking effect. Gradually changing the size of the iso-oriented masking grating changes contrast detection thresholds in a non-monotonic way that can be explained in terms of contrast-dependent spatial summation and inhibition. However, these spatial interactions seem only to take place when the mask is a uniform grating. When the mask is divided into a small center and a larger surround by changing the surround parameters or by adding a small gap, masking is as strong as with the small center mask only. We suggest that spatial interactions are weaker or even absent when the stimulus elements are perceptually segregated.

Published in:
Journal of vision, 9, 11, 21.1-12
Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

 Record created 2010-03-23, last modified 2018-03-17

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