The architecture of perceptual spatial interactions

Uri Polat, Dov Sagi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

397 Scopus citations


Lateral interactions between spatial filters were explored with a lateral masking paradigm. Contrast sensitivity (two-alternative forced-choice) for a Gabor signal in the presence of two flanking high contrast Gabor signals (masks) was measured. When the target to mask distance was less than 2 target wavelengths the contrast sensitivity decreased up to a factor of two relative to a no mask condition. At larger separations, up to eight wavelengths, an increase in contrast sensitivity occurred. This increase was maximal at separation distances of 2-3 wavelengths, where sensitivity increased by a factor of two. However, the enhancement magnitude and range was dependent on the offset between the Gabor signal orientation and the direction defined by the virtual line connecting the two masks (global orientation). Maximal effects occurred when this offset was zero (100% increase in sensitivity) and 90 deg (50% increase). A 45 deg offset yielded only a small enhancement (20%). The enhancement dependence on spatial arrangement was found to be invariant across different global orientations (meridian). This pattern of interactions may be involved in grouping collinear line segments into smooth curves.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-78
Number of pages6
JournalVision Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1994
Externally publishedYes


  • Lateral masking Gabor Contrast sensitivity Global orientation


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