The perception of suprathreshold contrast and fast adaptive filtering


Bex PJ, Langley K. The perception of suprathreshold contrast and fast adaptive filtering. Journal of Vision [Internet]. 2007;7 :1–23.


We examine how the perceived contrast of dynamic noise images depends upon temporal frequency ({TF)} and mean luminance. A novel stepwise suprathreshold matching paradigm shows that both threshold and suprathreshold contrast sensitivity functions may be described by an inverted-U shape as a function of {TF.} The shape and the peak {TF} of the tuning function vary with the conditions under which it is measured. Spatiotemporal vision is weakly band-pass at low luminance levels (0.8 cd/m2) but becomes more strongly band-pass at high luminances (40–400 cd/m2). The peak temporal frequencies of the band-pass functions increase with the mean luminance and contrast of the test signals. As a function of increasing image contrast, our results demonstrate that the visual system broadens the spatiotemporal bandwidth of its signal detection mechanisms, especially at high mean luminances. Our results are shown to be consistent with an adaptable signal transmission system in which early luminance-dependent gain control mechanisms, in combination with on-line estimates of contrast via the autocorrelation function lead to an adaptive enhancement of spatiotemporal vision at high temporal frequencies.