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Vision, Volume 3, Issue 1 (March 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Amblyopia is a neurodevelopmental disorder of vision that often involves strong perceptual [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Aging and Pattern Complexity Effects on the Visual Span: Evidence from Chinese Character Recognition
Received: 23 February 2019 / Revised: 16 March 2019 / Accepted: 18 March 2019 / Published: 22 March 2019
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Abstract
Research suggests that pattern complexity (number of strokes) limits the visual span for Chinese characters, and that this may have important consequences for reading. With the present research, we investigated age differences in the visual span for Chinese characters by presenting trigrams of [...] Read more.
Research suggests that pattern complexity (number of strokes) limits the visual span for Chinese characters, and that this may have important consequences for reading. With the present research, we investigated age differences in the visual span for Chinese characters by presenting trigrams of low, medium or high complexity at various locations relative to a central point to young (18–30 years) and older (60+ years) adults. A sentence reading task was used to assess their reading speed. The results showed that span size was smaller for high complexity stimuli compared to low and medium complexity stimuli for both age groups, replicating previous findings with young adult participants. Our results additionally showed that this influence of pattern complexity was greater for the older than younger adults, such that while there was little age difference in span size for low and medium complexity stimuli, span size for high complexity stimuli was almost halved in size for the older compared to the young adults. Finally, our results showed that span size correlated with sentence reading speed, confirming previous findings taken as evidence that the visual span imposes perceptual limits on reading speed. We discuss these findings in relation to age-related difficulty reading Chinese. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Stimulus Area on Global Motion Thresholds in Children and Adults
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 27 February 2019 / Accepted: 8 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
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Abstract
Performance on random-dot global motion tasks may reach adult-like levels before 4 or as late as 16 years of age, depending on the specific parameters used to create the stimuli. Later maturation has been found for slower speeds, smaller spatial displacements, and sparser [...] Read more.
Performance on random-dot global motion tasks may reach adult-like levels before 4 or as late as 16 years of age, depending on the specific parameters used to create the stimuli. Later maturation has been found for slower speeds, smaller spatial displacements, and sparser dot arrays. This protracted development on global motion tasks may depend on limitations specific to spatial aspects of a motion stimulus rather than to motion mechanisms per se. The current study investigated the impact of varying stimulus area (9, 36, and 81 deg2) on the global motion coherence thresholds of children 4–6 years old and adults for three signal dot displacements (∆x = 1, 5, and 30 arcmin). We aimed to determine whether children could achieve mature performance for the smallest displacements, a condition previously found to show late maturation, when a larger stimulus area was used. Coherence thresholds were higher in children compared to adults in the 1 and 5 arcmin displacement conditions, as reported previously, and this did not change as a function of stimulus area. However, both children and adults performed better with a larger stimulus area in the 30 arcmin displacement condition only. This suggests that immature spatial integration, as measured by stimulus area, cannot account for immaturities in global motion perception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Motion Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Eye Movement Dynamics Differ between Encoding and Recognition of Faces
Received: 17 May 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 December 2018 / Published: 12 February 2019
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Abstract
Facial recognition is widely thought to involve a holistic perceptual process, and optimal recognition performance can be rapidly achieved within two fixations. However, is facial identity encoding likewise holistic and rapid, and how do gaze dynamics during encoding relate to recognition? While having [...] Read more.
Facial recognition is widely thought to involve a holistic perceptual process, and optimal recognition performance can be rapidly achieved within two fixations. However, is facial identity encoding likewise holistic and rapid, and how do gaze dynamics during encoding relate to recognition? While having eye movements tracked, participants completed an encoding (“study”) phase and subsequent recognition (“test”) phase, each divided into blocks of one- or five-second stimulus presentation time conditions to distinguish the influences of experimental phase (encoding/recognition) and stimulus presentation time (short/long). Within the first two fixations, several differences between encoding and recognition were evident in the temporal and spatial dynamics of the eye-movements. Most importantly, in behavior, the long study phase presentation time alone caused improved recognition performance (i.e., longer time at recognition did not improve performance), revealing that encoding is not as rapid as recognition, since longer sequences of eye-movements are functionally required to achieve optimal encoding than to achieve optimal recognition. Together, these results are inconsistent with a scan path replay hypothesis. Rather, feature information seems to have been gradually integrated over many fixations during encoding, enabling recognition that could subsequently occur rapidly and holistically within a small number of fixations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reliability and Generalizability of Similarity-Based Fusion of MEG and fMRI Data in Human Ventral and Dorsal Visual Streams
Received: 22 October 2018 / Revised: 7 January 2019 / Accepted: 13 January 2019 / Published: 10 February 2019
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Abstract
To build a representation of what we see, the human brain recruits regions throughout the visual cortex in cascading sequence. Recently, an approach was proposed to evaluate the dynamics of visual perception in high spatiotemporal resolution at the scale of the whole brain. [...] Read more.
To build a representation of what we see, the human brain recruits regions throughout the visual cortex in cascading sequence. Recently, an approach was proposed to evaluate the dynamics of visual perception in high spatiotemporal resolution at the scale of the whole brain. This method combined functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data with magnetoencephalography (MEG) data using representational similarity analysis and revealed a hierarchical progression from primary visual cortex through the dorsal and ventral streams. To assess the replicability of this method, we here present the results of a visual recognition neuro-imaging fusion experiment and compare them within and across experimental settings. We evaluated the reliability of this method by assessing the consistency of the results under similar test conditions, showing high agreement within participants. We then generalized these results to a separate group of individuals and visual input by comparing them to the fMRI-MEG fusion data of Cichy et al (2016), revealing a highly similar temporal progression recruiting both the dorsal and ventral streams. Together these results are a testament to the reproducibility of the fMRI-MEG fusion approach and allows for the interpretation of these spatiotemporal dynamic in a broader context. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Perception and Its Neural Mechanisms)
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Open AccessBrief Report
Assessing Lateral Interaction in the Synesthetic Visual Brain
Received: 10 August 2018 / Revised: 14 January 2019 / Accepted: 6 February 2019 / Published: 8 February 2019
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Abstract
In grapheme-color synesthesia, letters and numbers evoke abnormal colored perceptions. Although the underlying mechanisms are not known, it is largely thought that the synesthetic brain is characterized by atypical connectivity throughout various brain regions, including the visual areas. To study the putative impact [...] Read more.
In grapheme-color synesthesia, letters and numbers evoke abnormal colored perceptions. Although the underlying mechanisms are not known, it is largely thought that the synesthetic brain is characterized by atypical connectivity throughout various brain regions, including the visual areas. To study the putative impact of synesthesia on the visual brain, we assessed lateral interactions (i.e., local functional connectivity between neighboring neurons in the visual cortex) by recording steady-state visual evoked potentials (ssVEPs) over the occipital region in color-grapheme synesthetes (n = 6) and controls (n = 21) using the windmill/dartboard paradigm. Discrete Fourier Transform analysis was conducted to extract the fundamental frequency and the second harmonics of ssVEP responses from contrast-reversing stimuli presented at 4.27 Hz. Lateral interactions were assessed using two amplitude-based indices: Short-range and long-range lateral interactions. Results indicated that synesthetes had a statistically weaker signal coherence of the fundamental frequency component compared to the controls, but no group differences were observed on lateral interaction indices. However, a significant correlation was found between long-range lateral interactions and the type of synesthesia experience (projector versus associator). We conclude that the occipital activity related to lateral interactions in synesthetes does not substantially differ from that observed in controls. Further investigation is needed to understand the impact of synesthesia on visual processing, specifically in relation to subjective experiences of synesthete individuals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Perception and Its Neural Mechanisms)
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Open AccessEditorial
Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Vision in 2018
Published: 28 January 2019
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Abstract
Rigorous peer-review is the corner-stone of high-quality academic publishing [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Temporal Limits of Visual Motion Processing: Psychophysics and Neurophysiology
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 11 January 2019 / Accepted: 11 January 2019 / Published: 26 January 2019
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Abstract
Under optimal conditions, just 3–6 ms of visual stimulation suffices for humans to see motion. Motion perception on this timescale implies that the visual system under these conditions reliably encodes, transmits, and processes neural signals with near-millisecond precision. Motivated by in vitro evidence [...] Read more.
Under optimal conditions, just 3–6 ms of visual stimulation suffices for humans to see motion. Motion perception on this timescale implies that the visual system under these conditions reliably encodes, transmits, and processes neural signals with near-millisecond precision. Motivated by in vitro evidence for high temporal precision of motion signals in the primate retina, we investigated how neuronal and perceptual limits of motion encoding relate. Specifically, we examined the correspondence between the time scale at which cat retinal ganglion cells in vivo represent motion information and temporal thresholds for human motion discrimination. The timescale for motion encoding by ganglion cells ranged from 4.6 to 91 ms, and depended non-linearly on temporal frequency, but not on contrast. Human psychophysics revealed that minimal stimulus durations required for perceiving motion direction were similarly brief, 5.6–65 ms, and similarly depended on temporal frequency but, above ~10%, not on contrast. Notably, physiological and psychophysical measurements corresponded closely throughout (r = 0.99), despite more than a 20-fold variation in both human thresholds and optimal timescales for motion encoding in the retina. The match in absolute values of the neurophysiological and psychophysical data may be taken to indicate that from the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) through to the level of perception little temporal precision is lost. However, we also show that integrating responses from multiple neurons can improve temporal resolution, and this potential trade-off between spatial and temporal resolution would allow for loss of temporal resolution after the LGN. While the extent of neuronal integration cannot be determined from either our human psychophysical or neurophysiological experiments and its contribution to the measured temporal resolution is unknown, our results demonstrate a striking similarity in stimulus dependence between the temporal fidelity established in the retina and the temporal limits of human motion discrimination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Perception and Its Neural Mechanisms)
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Open AccessPerspective
Illuminating the Neural Circuits Underlying Orienting of Attention
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 10 January 2019 / Accepted: 22 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
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Abstract
Human neuroimaging has revealed brain networks involving frontal and parietal cortical areas as well as subcortical areas, including the superior colliculus and pulvinar, which are involved in orienting to sensory stimuli. Because accumulating evidence points to similarities between both overt and covert orienting [...] Read more.
Human neuroimaging has revealed brain networks involving frontal and parietal cortical areas as well as subcortical areas, including the superior colliculus and pulvinar, which are involved in orienting to sensory stimuli. Because accumulating evidence points to similarities between both overt and covert orienting in humans and other animals, we propose that it is now feasible, using animal models, to move beyond these large-scale networks to address the local networks and cell types that mediate orienting of attention. In this opinion piece, we discuss optogenetic and related methods for testing the pathways involved, and obstacles to carrying out such tests in rodent and monkey populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Orienting and Conscious Perception)
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Open AccessArticle
Cancelling Flash Illusory Line Motion by Cancelling the Attentional Gradient and a Consideration of Consciousness
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 26 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
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Abstract
Illusory line motion (ILM) refers to the perception of motion in a line that is, in fact, presented in full at one time. One form of this illusion (flashILM) occurs when the line is presented between two objects following a brief [...] Read more.
Illusory line motion (ILM) refers to the perception of motion in a line that is, in fact, presented in full at one time. One form of this illusion (flashILM) occurs when the line is presented between two objects following a brief luminance change in one of them and flashILM is thought to result from exogenous attention being captured by the flash. Exogenous attention fades with increasing delays, which predicts that flashILM should show a similar temporal pattern. Exogenous attention appears to follow flashILM to become more or less equally distributed along the line.The current study examines flashILM in order to test these predictions derived from the attentional explanation for flashILM and the results were consistent with them. The discussion then concludes with an exploratory analysis approach concerning states of consciousness and decision making and suggests a possible role for attention. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Orienting and Conscious Perception)
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Open AccessArticle
Long-Range Interocular Suppression in Adults with Strabismic Amblyopia: A Pilot fMRI Study
Received: 7 November 2018 / Revised: 15 December 2018 / Accepted: 31 December 2018 / Published: 8 January 2019
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Abstract
Interocular suppression plays an important role in the visual deficits experienced by individuals with amblyopia. Most neurophysiological and functional MRI studies of suppression in amblyopia have used dichoptic stimuli that overlap within the visual field. However, suppression of the amblyopic eye also occurs [...] Read more.
Interocular suppression plays an important role in the visual deficits experienced by individuals with amblyopia. Most neurophysiological and functional MRI studies of suppression in amblyopia have used dichoptic stimuli that overlap within the visual field. However, suppression of the amblyopic eye also occurs when the dichoptic stimuli do not overlap, a phenomenon we refer to as long-range suppression. We used functional MRI to test the hypothesis that long-range suppression reduces neural activity in V1, V2 and V3 in adults with amblyopia, indicative of an early, active inhibition mechanism. Five adults with amblyopia and five controls viewed monocular and dichoptic quadrant stimuli during fMRI. Three of five participants with amblyopia experienced complete perceptual suppression of the quadrants presented to their amblyopic eye under dichoptic viewing. The blood oxygen level dependant (BOLD) responses within retinotopic regions corresponding to amblyopic and fellow eye stimuli were analyzed for response magnitude, time to peak, effective connectivity and stimulus classification. Dichoptic viewing slightly reduced the BOLD response magnitude in amblyopic eye retinotopic regions in V1 and reduced the time to peak response; however, the same effects were also present in the non-dominant eye of controls. Effective connectivity was unaffected by suppression, and the results of a classification analysis did not differ significantly between the control and amblyopia groups. Overall, we did not observe a neural signature of long-range amblyopic eye suppression in V1, V2 or V3 using functional MRI in this initial study. This type of suppression may involve higher level processing areas within the brain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Perception and Its Neural Mechanisms)
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Open AccessArticle
A Thickness Illusion: Horizontal Is Perceived as Thicker than Vertical
Received: 8 November 2018 / Revised: 23 November 2018 / Accepted: 26 December 2018 / Published: 4 January 2019
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Abstract
We report two psychophysical experiments that investigate a visual illusion that is considered common knowledge among type designers, but has never been studied scientifically. Specifically, the thickness of a horizontal line is overestimated in relation to that of a vertical line. Experiment 1 [...] Read more.
We report two psychophysical experiments that investigate a visual illusion that is considered common knowledge among type designers, but has never been studied scientifically. Specifically, the thickness of a horizontal line is overestimated in relation to that of a vertical line. Experiment 1 confirmed the existence of the illusion. In Experiment 2, we replicated the effect and showed that the illusion is closely related to the vertical-horizontal illusion, in which the length of a vertical line is overestimated in comparison to a horizontal one. Both the overestimation of thickness and length is larger when the stimulus is surrounded by a horizontally elongated frame, as opposed to a vertically elongated frame. We discuss potential explanations for the thickness illusion and its relation to the vertical-horizontal illusion. Full article
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