Rajimehr R, Montaser-Kouhsari L, Afraz S-R, 2003, "Orientation-selective adaptation to crowded illusory lines" Perception 32(10) 1199 – 1210
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Orientation-selective adaptation to crowded illusory lines
Reza Rajimehr, Leila Montaser-Kouhsari, Seyed-Reza Afraz
Received 24 July 2002, in revised form 3 March 2003; published online 13 November 2003
Abstract. Visual adaptation has been successfully used as a psychophysical tool for studying the functional organisation of visual awareness. It has been shown that orientation-selective adaptation to a grating pattern occurs in crowded conditions. In such conditions, simultaneous presentation of flanking distractors pushes the target stimulus out of conscious perception and severely impairs orientation discrimination in the periphery of the visual field. In the present study, orientation-selective adaptation to illusory lines induced by two line gratings abutting each other with a phase shift was examined in crowded and non-crowded conditions. To rule out the effects of lower level adaptations we used an animation paradigm in which the orientations of the two line gratings were altered repeatedly during adaptation phase without any change in the orientation of the resulting illusory line. Although performance of subjects in reporting the orientation of crowded illusory lines was at chance level, orientation-selective adaptation was preserved for crowded as well as non-crowded adapting targets. Two control experiments demonstrated that adaptation to endpoints of real lines at the location of abutting grating lines had minimal effect on the adaptation to illusory lines; and changes in the configuration of endpoints could not be responsible for better performance when adapting and test stimuli were different. We conclude that a crowding effect occurs after illusory lines have been processed in the visual stream. Since illusory lines seem to be represented at relatively early stages of visual processing (eg area V2), adaptation to crowded illusory stimuli suggests that neuronal activation in those early stages is not necessarily correlated with conscious perception.
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