, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 121-128

Masking of alphabetic character recognition by dynamic visual noise (DVN)


The recognition of alphabetic characters composed of dot patterns is interfered with by dynamic visual noise (DVN) composed of similar dots randomly plotted over the character field. In this study we examine the general ability of the visual system to defect test characters as the level of this DVN varies. Three experiments are performed. The first deals with the effect of the DVN when the characters are embedded in continuous bursts of the noise, while the second and third examine the effects of leading and trading bursts of the DVN on character recognizability. Though the applicability of this paradigm to psychological questions is very brood, we concentrate on the problems of the channel capacity of the visual system and the persistence of the effects. The time course of the psychological instant is also considered.

This project was supported in part by NSF Grant GJ114. The author wishes to express his appreciation to Mr. Jon Baron and to the members of the Faculty Psychophysics Seminar at the University of Michigan whose conversations contributed to the development of many of the ideas expressed in this paper. The competent experimental assistance and editorial advice of Miss Anne Byrnes are also gratefully acknowledged.