Authors: Sally SL,Gurnsey R,
Address: Department of Cognitive Science, Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, 08854, USA. email@example.com
Journal: Exp Brain Res.
Publication: 2007 Nov;183(3):351-60. Epub 2007 Jul 18.
Performance can often be made equal across the visual field by scaling peripherally presented stimuli according to F = 1 + E/E (2) where E (2) is the eccentricity at which stimulus size must double to maintain foveal performance levels. Sally and Gurnsey (Vision Res 43:1375-1385, 2003 and Vision Res 44:2719-2727, 2004) have previously shown that estimates of E (2) for orientation discrimination are significantly larger (i.e., less spatial scaling is required) at stimulus contrasts near detection threshold than at contrasts well above detection threshold. To examine the nature of this effect parametrically we measured orientation discrimination thresholds at 0 degrees and 10 degrees eccentricity for three levels of Michelson contrast (3, 12 and 48%) and three stimulus length-to-width aspect ratios (36.4, 9.1 and 2.3) for a range of line sizes (0.19 degrees -36 degrees visual angle). On average, E (2) values decreased as stimulus contrast decreased, consistent with the previous results of Sally and Gurnsey (Vision Res 43:1375-1385, 2003 and Vision Res 44:2719-2727, 2004). It is proposed that contrast reductions have a proportionally larger effect on small orientation-selective units than large ones and thus produce a greater rightward shift of acuity functions (orientation threshold vs. size) at the fovea than in the periphery. This explains why less spatial scaling is required to equate foveal and peripheral acuity functions at low contrasts than at high contrasts.