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2002


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Phase information in the recognition of natural images

Braun, D., Wichmann, F., Gegenfurtner, K.

Perception, 31(ECVP Abstract Supplement):133, 25th European Conference on Visual Perception, August 2002 (poster)

Abstract
Fourier phase plays an important role in determining global image structure. For example, when the phase spectrum of an image of a flower is swapped with that of a tank, we usually perceive a tank, even though the amplitude spectrum is still that of the flower. Similarly, when the phase spectrum of an image is randomly swapped across frequencies, that is its Fourier energy is randomly distributed over the image, the resulting image becomes impossible to recognise. Our goal was to evaluate the effect of phase manipulations in a quantitative manner. Subjects viewed two images of natural scenes, one of which contained an animal (the target) embedded in the background. The spectra of the images were manipulated by adding random phase noise at each frequency. The phase noise was the independent variable, uniformly distributed between 0° and ±180°. Subjects were remarkably resistant to phase noise. Even with ±120° noise, subjects were still 75% correct. The proportion of correct answers closely followed the correlation between original and noise-distorted images. Thus it appears as if it was not the global phase information per se that determines our percept of natural images, but rather the effect of phase on local image features.

Web [BibTex]

2002

Web [BibTex]


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Detection and discrimination in pink noise

Wichmann, F., Henning, G.

5, pages: 100, 5. T{\"u}binger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK), February 2002 (poster)

Abstract
Much of our information about early spatial vision comes from detection experiments involving low-contrast stimuli, which are not, perhaps, particularly "natural" stimuli. Contrast discrimination experiments provide one way to explore the visual system's response to stimuli of higher contrast whilst keeping the number of unknown parameters comparatively small. We explored both detection and contrast discrimination performance with sinusoidal and "pulse-train" (or line) gratings. Both types of grating had a fundamental spatial frequency of 2.09-c/deg but the pulse-train, ideally, contains, in addition to its fundamental component, all the harmonics of the fundamental. Although the 2.09-c/deg pulse-train produced on our display was measured using a high-performance digital camera (Photometrics) and shown to contain at least 8 harmonics at equal contrast, it was no more detectable than its most detectable component; no benefit from having additional information at the harmonics was measurable. The addition of broadband 1-D "pink" noise made it about a factor of four more detectable than any of its components. However, in contrast-discrimination experiments, with an in-phase pedestal or masking grating of the same form and phase as the signal and 15% contrast, the noise did not improve the discrimination performance of the pulse train relative to that of its sinusoidal components. We discuss the implications of these observations for models of early vision in particular the implications for possible sources of internal noise.

Web [BibTex]

Web [BibTex]


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Application of Monte Carlo Methods to Psychometric Function Fitting

Wichmann, F.

Proceedings of the 33rd European Conference on Mathematical Psychology, pages: 44, 2002 (poster)

Abstract
The psychometric function relates an observer's performance to an independent variable, usually some physical quantity of a stimulus in a psychophysical task. Here I describe methods to (1) fitting psychometric functions, (2) assessing goodness-of-fit, and (3) providing confidence intervals for the function's parameters and other estimates derived from them. First I describe a constrained maximum-likelihood method for parameter estimation. Using Monte-Carlo simulations I demonstrate that it is important to have a fitting method that takes stimulus-independent errors (or "lapses") into account. Second, a number of goodness-of-fit tests are introduced. Because psychophysical data sets are usually rather small I advocate the use of Monte Carlo resampling techniques that do not rely on asymptotic theory for goodness-of-fit assessment. Third, a parametric bootstrap is employed to estimate the variability of fitted parameters and derived quantities such as thresholds and slopes. I describe how the bootstrap bridging assumption, on which the validity of the procedure depends, can be tested without incurring too high a cost in computation time. Finally I describe how the methods can be extended to test hypotheses concerning the form and shape of several psychometric functions. Software describing the methods is available (http://www.bootstrap-software.com/psignifit/), as well as articles describing the methods in detail (Wichmann&Hill, Perception&Psychophysics, 2001a,b).

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Optimal linear estimation of self-motion - a real-world test of a model of fly tangential neurons

Franz, MO.

SAB 02 Workshop, Robotics as theoretical biology, 7th meeting of the International Society for Simulation of Adaptive Behaviour (SAB), (Editors: Prescott, T.; Webb, B.), 2002 (poster)

Abstract
The tangential neurons in the fly brain are sensitive to the typical optic flow patterns generated during self-motion (see example in Fig.1). We examine whether a simplified linear model of these neurons can be used to estimate self-motion from the optic flow. We present a theory for the construction of an optimal linear estimator incorporating prior knowledge both about the distance distribution of the environment, and about the noise and self-motion statistics of the sensor. The optimal estimator is tested on a gantry carrying an omnidirectional vision sensor that can be moved along three translational and one rotational degree of freedom. The experiments indicate that the proposed approach yields accurate results for rotation estimates, independently of the current translation and scene layout. Translation estimates, however, turned out to be sensitive to simultaneous rotation and to the particular distance distribution of the scene. The gantry experiments confirm that the receptive field organization of the tangential neurons allows them, as an ensemble, to extract self-motion from the optic flow.

PDF [BibTex]

PDF [BibTex]

1999


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Unexpected and anticipated pain: identification of specific brain activations by correlation with reference functions derived form conditioning theory

Ploghaus, A., Clare, S., Wichmann, F., Tracey, I.

29, 29th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (Neuroscience), October 1999 (poster)

[BibTex]

1999

[BibTex]


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Single-class Support Vector Machines

Schölkopf, B., Williamson, R., Smola, A., Shawe-Taylor, J.

Dagstuhl-Seminar on Unsupervised Learning, pages: 19-20, (Editors: J. Buhmann, W. Maass, H. Ritter and N. Tishby), 1999 (poster)

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Pedestal effects with periodic pulse trains

Henning, G., Wichmann, F.

Perception, 28, pages: S137, 1999 (poster)

Abstract
It is important to know for theoretical reasons how performance varies with stimulus contrast. But, for objects on CRT displays, retinal contrast is limited by the linear range of the display and the modulation transfer function of the eye. For example, with an 8 c/deg sinusoidal grating at 90% contrast, the contrast of the retinal image is barely 45%; more retinal contrast is required, however, to discriminate among theories of contrast discrimination (Wichmann, Henning and Ploghaus, 1998). The stimulus with the greatest contrast at any spatial-frequency component is a periodic pulse train which has 200% contrast at every harmonic. Such a waveform cannot, of course, be produced; the best we can do with our Mitsubishi display provides a contrast of 150% at an 8-c/deg fundamental thus producing a retinal image with about 75% contrast. The penalty of using this stimulus is that the 2nd harmonic of the retinal image also has high contrast (with an emmetropic eye, more than 60% of the contrast of the 8-c/deg fundamental ) and the mean luminance is not large (24.5 cd/m2 on our display). We have used standard 2-AFC experiments to measure the detectability of an 8-c/deg pulse train against the background of an identical pulse train of different contrasts. An unusually large improvement in detetectability was measured, the pedestal effect or "dipper," and the dipper was unusually broad. The implications of these results will be discussed.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]


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Implications of the pedestal effect for models of contrast-processing and gain-control

Wichmann, F., Henning, G.

OSA Conference Program, pages: 62, 1999 (poster)

Abstract
Understanding contrast processing is essential for understanding spatial vision. Pedestal contrast systematically affects slopes of functions relating 2-AFC contrast discrimination performance to pedestal contrast. The slopes provide crucial information because only full sets of data allow discrimination among contrast-processing and gain-control models. Issues surrounding Weber's law will also be discussed.

[BibTex]

1997


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Masking by plaid patterns is not explained by adaptation, simple contrast gain-control or distortion products

Wichmann, F., Tollin, D.

Investigative Ophthamology and Visual Science, 38 (4), pages: S631, 1997 (poster)

[BibTex]

1997

[BibTex]


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Masking by plaid patterns: spatial frequency tuning and contrast dependency

Wichmann, F., Tollin, D.

OSA Conference Program, pages: 97, 1997 (poster)

Abstract
The detectability of horizontally orientated sinusoidal signals at different spatial-frequencies was measured in standard 2AFC - tasks in the presence of two-component plaid patterns of different orientation and contrast. The shape of the resulting masking surface provides insight into, and constrains models of, the underlying masking mechanisms.

[BibTex]

[BibTex]