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Proceedings Paper

Visual adaptation and the perception of distortions in natural images
Author(s): Michael A. Webster; Otto H. MacLin
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Paper Abstract

We examined figural after-effects in natural images by using as adapt and test stimuli images of human faces, for which small changes in configuration are highly discriminable. Observers either matched a face to a memorized face or rated faces as either `normal' or `distorted', before or after viewing a distorted image of the same face. Prior adaptation strongly biases face recognition: after viewing the distorted image, the original face appears distorted in a direction opposite to the adapting distortion. However, no after-effects are observed when either the adapting image or the test image is inverted, indicating that the adaptation is not to the distortion gradient in the image (which is the same for upright or inverted images), but depends instead on the specific configuration of the stimulus. We further show that the figural after-effects for face images are highly asymmetric, for adapting to the original face has little effect on the perception of a distorted face. This asymmetry suggests that adaptation may play an important normalizing role in face perception. Our results suggest that in normal viewing figural after-effects may play a prominent role in form perception, and could provide a novel method for probing the mechanisms underlying human face perception.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 July 1998
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3299, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging III, (17 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.320116
Show Author Affiliations
Michael A. Webster, Univ. of Nevada/Reno (United States)
Otto H. MacLin, Univ. of Nevada/Reno (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3299:
Human Vision and Electronic Imaging III
Bernice E. Rogowitz; Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas, Editor(s)

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