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Image segmentation from motion: just the loss of high-spatial-frequency content ?

Wichmann, F., Henning, G.

Perception, 24, pages: S19, 1995 (poster)

The human contrast sensitivity function (CSF) is bandpass for stimuli of low temporal frequency but, for moving stimuli, results in a low-pass CSF with large high spatial-frequency losses. Thus the high spatial-frequency content of images moving on the retina cannot be seen; motion perception could be facilitated by, or even be based on, the selective loss of high spatial-frequency content. 2-AFC image segmentation experiments were conducted with segmentation based on motion or on form. In the latter condition, the form difference mirrored that produced by moving stimuli. This was accomplished by generating stimulus elements which were spectrally either broadband or low-pass. For the motion used, the spectral difference between static broadband and static low-pass elements matched the spectral difference between moving and static broadband elements. On the hypothesis that segmentation from motion is based on the detection of regions devoid of high spatial-frequencies, both tasks should be similarly difficult for human observers. However, neither image segmentation (nor, incidentally, motion detection) was sensitive to the high spatial-frequency content of the stimuli. Thus changes in perceptual form produced by moving stimuli appear not to be used as a cue for image segmentation.