Orientation discrimination in visual noise using global and local stimuli

Vision Res. 2003 May;43(11):1223-33. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(03)00095-6.


We have investigated orientation discrimination in visual noise using two types of high contrast, broadband stimuli. Discrimination thresholds are better for Local stimuli, in which the orientation signal is spatially limited, than for Global stimuli, in which the orientation signal extends across the entire stimulus. Performance improves with increasing stimulus area, reaching an optimum threshold of about 11% orientation signal. Thresholds were not influenced by brief presentation times or practice. These results, along with results from a simple computational model, suggest that human orientation discrimination for this kind of pattern is mediated by pooling local responses of low-level neural mechanisms and is limited by two stages of intrinsic neural noise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Noise
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Visual Perception / physiology