Temporal resolution of orientation-defined texture segregation: a VEP study
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Orientation is one of the visual dimensions that subserve figure-ground discrimination. A spatial gradient in orientation leads to “texture segregation”, which is thought to be concurrent parallel processing across the visual field, without scanning. In the visual-evoked potential (VEP) a component can be isolated which is related to texture segregation (“tsVEP”). Our objective was to evaluate the temporal frequency dependence of the tsVEP to compare processing speed of low-level features (e.g., orientation, using the VEP, here denoted llVEP) with texture segregation because of a recent literature controversy in that regard. Visual-evoked potentials (VEPs) were recorded in seven normal adults. Oriented line segments of 0.1° × 0.8° at 100% contrast were presented in four different arrangements: either oriented in parallel for two homogeneous stimuli (from which were obtained the low-level VEP (llVEP)) or with a 90° orientation gradient for two textured ones (from which were obtained the texture VEP). The orientation texture condition was presented at eight different temporal frequencies ranging from 7.5 to 45 Hz. Fourier analysis was used to isolate low-level components at the pattern-change frequency and texture-segregation components at half that frequency. For all subjects, there was lower high-cutoff frequency for tsVEP than for llVEPs, on average 12 Hz vs. 17 Hz (P = 0.017). The results suggest that the processing of feature gradients to extract texture segregation requires additional processing time, resulting in a lower fusion frequency.
KeywordsOrientation Texture segregation Temporal resolution Visual-evoked potentials
This work was supported by the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (grant to M.M.), by the ‘Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec’ (scholarship to J.L.) and by the ‘Réseau FRSQ de recherche en santé de la vision’ (grant to M.M.).
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