PMID: 708798Sep 21, 1978Paper

Visual detection of spatial contrast; influence of location in the visual field, target extent and illuminance level

Biological cybernetics
J J Koenderink, A J van Doorn

Abstract

A model is proposed that permits the prediction of contrast detection thresholds for arbitrary spatial patterns. The influence of the inhomogeneous structure of the visual field and a form of spatial integration are incorporated in the model. A hypothetical density function for the spatial sampling units, which specifies the distribution of these units with respect to both size and location, is described. The density function is compared with anatomical and electrophysiological knowledge of the density of retinal and cortical receptive fields. This density function permits a particularly lucid interpretation in terms of pattern processing. It can be considered as a system that permits simultaneous global and focal views of the surroundings. Thedensity function, together with a schematized adaptation behaviour of single units, and an incoherent summation rule permit us to calculate a measure of the mass response, and consequently the threshold function. Predictions of the model are compared with recently obtained psychophysical data. In particular an explanation is offered for certain invariance properties of spatial contrast detection that seems to possess promising generality.

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