Interactions between luminance and contrast signals in global form detection

David Badcock, C.W.G. Clifford, Sieu Khuu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The human visual system is adept at detecting global structure, or form, within a scene. The initial stage of post-retinal processing for all aspects of vision is fed by On- and Off-centre cells sensitive to centred luminance increments and decrements respectively. These cells provide input to two parallel pathways that process variations in local luminance (first-order pathway) and local contrast (second-order pathway). Here, we investigate the contribution of luminance and contrast information to global form detection, a stage between the extraction of local orientation and the recognition of objects. The underlying processes involve two stages. We find that signals in the On-, Off- and second-order pathways are segregated at both stages of processing. Surprisingly, the non-linear stage in the second-order form pathway is different from that in motion processing: the second-order form detectors show an asymmetry in sensitivity to increments and decrements that is not apparent in motion. A functional architecture for global form detection is proposed along with its possible neural substrates. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-889
JournalVision Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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