Visual Contextual Effects of Orientation, Contrast, Flicker, and Luminance: All Are Affected by Normal Aging

Bao N Nguyen, Allison M McKendrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The perception of a visual stimulus can be markedly altered by spatial interactions between the stimulus and its surround. For example, a grating stimulus appears lower in contrast when surrounded by a similar pattern of higher contrast: a phenomenon known as surround suppression of perceived contrast. Such center-surround interactions in visual perception are numerous and arise from both cortical and pre-cortical neural circuitry. For example, perceptual surround suppression of luminance and flicker are predominantly mediated pre-cortically, whereas contrast and orientation suppression have strong cortical contributions. Here, we compare the perception of older and younger observers on a battery of tasks designed to assess such visual contextual effects. For all visual dimensions tested (luminance, flicker, contrast, and orientation), on average the older adults showed greater suppression of central targets than the younger adult group. The increase in suppression was consistent in magnitude across all tasks, suggesting that normal aging produces a generalized, non-specific alteration to contextual processing in vision.

Original languageEnglish
Article number79
Pages (from-to)79
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Volume8
Issue numberAPR
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

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