Cross-orientation interactions in human vision
Roeber, U, Wong, EMY & Freeman, AW 2008, 'Cross-orientation interactions in human vision', Journal of Vision, vol. 8, no. 3, art. 15.
Humans can discriminate one visual contour from another on the basis of small differences in orientation. This capability depends on cortical detectors that are selective for a small range of orientations. We have measured this orientation bandwidth and the suppression that helps to shape it, with a reverse correlation technique. Human subjects were presented with a stream of randomly oriented gratings at a rate of 30 per second. Their task was to press a key whenever they saw an orientation nominated as the target. We analyzed the data by finding the probability density of two orientations: One preceded the key-press by the reaction time, and the second preceded the first by up to 100 ms. The results were as follows: (1) One grating facilitated the following one in producing a key-press when the gratings differed little in orientation. The estimate of orientation bandwidth resulting from this facilitation was 38°. (2) A large angle between the two orientations reduced the probability of a key-press. This finding was best modelled as a suppression that did not vary with orientation, consistent with the idea that cross-orientation suppression is non-oriented. (3) Analysis of non-consecutive grating pairs showed that cross-orientation interactions lasted no longer than 67 ms.