Journal of Electronic ImagingInfluence of adaptation on the perception of distortions in natural images
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We examined judgments of distortions in images of faces and how they are influenced by visual adaptation to distorted images. Two-dimensional image arrays were generated by varying the degree of local expansion or contraction along the horizontal or vertical axis of the image. Images along different directions within the array were varied in staircases while observers rated the images as either ‘‘normal’’ or ‘‘distorted.’’ The reversal points for the staircases define the gamut of distortions that observers accept as a normal variant of the original image, and they are well described by ellipses. Under neutral adaptation this gamut is roughly centered on the original image. However, after viewing a distorted face, the images perceived as normal are strongly biased toward the adapting distortion, and the range of the gamut increases along the axis of the distortion. Thus changes in the state of adaptation can markedly alter the perception of images, by altering both the perceived neutral point and the sensitivity to variations in images.