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Edge integration and the perception of brightness and darkness

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Author: Vladusich, T. · Lucassen, M.P. · Cornelissen, F.W.
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:Journal of vision, 6, 10, 1126-1147
Identifier: 16542
doi: doi:10.1167/6.10.12
Keywords: Darkness · Assimilation · Brightness · Contrast · Edge · Integration · Color vision · Dark adaptation · Image analysis · Image display · Luminance · Prediction · Psychophysiology · Quantitative analysis · Signal transduction · Visual discrimination · Contrast Sensitivity · Light · Models, Psychological · Psychophysics · Vision


How do induced brightness and darkness signals from local and remote surfaces interact to determine the final achromatic color percept of a target surface? An emerging theory of achromatic color perception posits that brightness and darkness percepts are computed by weighting and summing the induction signals generated at edges in a scene. This theory also characterizes how neighboring edges interact to modulate the gain of brightness and darkness signals induced from one another. Here we assess evidence for this edge integration theory by means of computational modeling and a psychophysical experiment. We quantitatively show how local and remote edge induction signals in disk-ring displays give rise to either contrast or assimilation effects. Spatial integration of same-polarity edge signals supports a contrast effect, whereas integration of opposite-polarity signals supports an assimilation effect, particularly when the remote induction signal is much stronger than the local induction signal. The results confirm a key prediction of edge integration theory, namely, that strong assimilation effects can lead subjects to ignore the polarity of local edge information when setting achromatic color matches. The conditions necessary for strong assimilation effects are also associated with greater difficulty in setting matches, suggesting that caution is required when interpreting matching data in terms of gain control. We describe several avenues for further study of contrast, assimilation, and gain control. Keywords: contrast, assimilation, brightness, darkness, integration, edge