Ensemble coding of color and luminance contrast

Rajendran, Siddhart, Maule, John, Franklin, Anna and Webster, Michael A (2020) Ensemble coding of color and luminance contrast. Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics. ISSN 1943-3921

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Ensemble coding has been demonstrated for many attributes including color, but the metrics on which this coding is based remain uncertain. We examined ensemble percepts for stimulus sets that varied in chromatic contrast between complementary hues, or that varied in luminance contrast between increments and decrements, in both cases focusing on the ensemble percepts for the neutral gray stimulus defining the category boundary. Each ensemble was composed of 16 circles with four contrast levels. Observers saw the display for 0.5 s and then judged whether a target contrast was a member of the set. False alarms were high for intermediate contrasts (within the range of the ensemble) and fell for higher or lower values. However, for ensembles with complementary hues, gray was less likely to be reported as a member, even when it represented the mean chromaticity of the set. When the settings were repeated for luminance contrast, false alarms for gray were higher and fell off more gradually for out-of-range contrasts. This difference implies that opposite luminance polarities represent a more continuous perceptual dimension than opponent-color variations, and that “gray” is a stronger category boundary for chromatic than luminance contrasts. For color, our results suggest that ensemble percepts reflect pooling within rather than between large hue differences, perhaps because the visual system represents hue differences more like qualitatively different categories than like quantitative differences within an underlying color “space.” The differences for luminance and color suggest more generally that ensemble coding for different visual attributes might depend on different processes that in turn depend on the format of the visual representation.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
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Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 09 Oct 2020 06:54
Last Modified: 07 Oct 2021 01:01
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/94249

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