Phase specific shape aftereffects explained by the tilt aftereffect

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Abstract

Aftereffects of adaptation are frequently used to infer mechanisms of human visual perception. Commonly, the properties of stimuli are repelled from properties of the adaptor. For example, in the tilt aftereffect a line is repelled in orientation from a previously experienced line. Perceived orientation is predicted by the centroid of the responses of a population of mechanisms individually tuned to limited ranges of orientation but collectively sensitive to the whole possible range. Aftereffects are also predictable if the mechanisms are allowed to adapt. Adaptation across radial frequency patterns, patterns deformed from circular by a sinusoidal modulation of radius, causes repulsive aftereffects, sensitive to the relative amplitudes and orientations of the patterns. Here we show that these shape aftereffects can be accounted for by the application of local tilt aftereffects around the shape contour. We suggest that fields of tilt aftereffects might provide a general mechanism for exaggerating the perceptual difference between successively experienced stimuli, making them more discriminable. If the human visual system does indeed exploit this possibility, then the conclusions often made by studies assuming adaptation within mechanisms sensitive to the shape of stimuli will need to be reconsidered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-910
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Volume45
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019

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