Perceived blur in naturally contoured images depends on phase


Murray S, Bex PJ. Perceived blur in naturally contoured images depends on phase. Frontiers in Psychology [Internet]. 2010;1:185.


Perceived blur is an important measure of image quality and clinical visual function. The magnitude of image blur varies across space and time under natural viewing conditions owing to changes in pupil size and accommodation. Blur is frequently studied in the laboratory with a variety of digital filters, without comparing how the choice of filter affects blur perception. We examine the perception of image blur in synthetic images composed of contours whose orientation and curvature spatial properties matched those of natural images but whose blur could be directly controlled. The images were blurred by manipulating the slope of the amplitude spectrum, Gaussian low-pass filtering or filtering with a Sinc function, which, unlike slope or Gaussian filtering, introduces periodic phase reversals similar to those in optically blurred images. For slope-filtered images, blur discrimination thresholds for over-sharpened images were extremely high and perceived blur could not be matched with either Gaussian or Sinc filtered images, suggesting that directly manipulating image slope does not simulate the perception of blur. For Gaussian- and Sinc-blurred images, blur discrimination thresholds were dipper-shaped and were well-fit with a simple variance discrimination model and with a contrast detection threshold model, but the latter required different contrast sensitivity functions for different types of blur. Blur matches between Gaussian- and Sinc-blurred images were used to test several models of blur perception and were in good agreement with models based on luminance slope, but not with spatial frequency based models. Collectively, these results show that the relative phases of image components, in addition to their relative amplitudes, determines perceived blur.


{PMID:} 21833246