Abstract

Difficulties arise in measuring masking by Mach bands because very-low-contrast signals distort the bands. [J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 17, 1147 (2000).] Adding narrow luminance increments (bright bars) in the dark Mach band widens the dark band; adding decrements (dark bars) narrows the dark band, and conversely in the bright bands. Randomizing signal polarity prevents observers from using the distortion of the Mach bands as a cue to the presence of the signal. We measured (two-alternative–forced-choice) Mach bands’ masking of randomly selected bright (incremental) or dark (decremental) bars. Detection was worse in both dark and bright Mach bands than on the neighboring plateaus. Separate analysis of trials containing only one polarity signal revealed 9-cycle/deg oscillations in performance as a function of location. Oscillations in the two polarities were approximately 180° out of phase.

© 2004 Optical Society of America

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