Abstract

In a visual scene, when objects are surrounded by other components, neural mechanisms increase the perceived color and brightness difference between an object and its surround, potentially enhancing an observer’s ability to segment objects. Despite almost two centuries of empirical investigations, the nature of induction mechanisms remains elusive. To elucidate the nature of these mechanisms, we introduce a new method for measuring color and brightness induction that allows separate manipulation of lateral interactions and adaptation, and controls for eye-movement-related effects. We use the method to examine the function relating induction magnitude to contrast change in the surround, the symmetry of induction in complementary directions for the three cardinal color axes, and the effect of blur between the test and the surround. On average, brightness induction was more linear than chromatic induction. The induction magnitude was similar for surrounds of complementary colors on average and for many conditions, and when individual observers deviated from symmetry it could be on either side. Edge blur did not change the induction magnitude. For slower presentations, light/dark induction increased to further reduce asymmetry, suggesting that previously found light/dark induction asymmetry is not due to lateral interactions or prolonged adaptation. Lateral interactions underlying induction are thus mostly symmetric for color and brightness axes and involve spatially opponent filters of modest widths, rather than edge extraction.

© 2016 Optical Society of America

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