Abstract

A vertical grating that sinusoidally reverses contrast can be synthesized from two identical component gratings that move with equal velocities in opposite directions (leftward and rightward). Such a counterphase grating is used as a suprathreshold masking pattern. When the mask is of low spatial frequency and is modulated rapidly, a test pattern consisting of an increment of the rightward component and an equivalent simultaneous decrement of the leftward component is highly detectable compared with simultaneous increments or decrements of both components. The visibility of the opponent-movement test signal is strongly facilitated by high-contrast masks. This facilitation is accompanied by a high sensitivity for judging the direction of motion of the test. These results show that certain detection mechanisms are highly sensitive to the difference of the rightward and leftward components. However, when the mask is of threshold contrast, the rightward- and leftward-moving test components appear to be detected independently. A high-contrast grating that rapidly moves in one direction strongly masks gratings moving in the same or opposite direction; this shows that moving patterns are not detected by unidirectional mechanisms when contrast is clearly suprathreshold. The results may be explained by a model with mechanisms that are excited by one direction of motion and inhibited by the opposite direction.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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