The two-dimensional shape of spatial interaction zones in the parafovea

Vision Res. 1992 Jul;32(7):1349-57. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(92)90227-a.


The spatial analysis of a target may be strongly degraded by the simultaneous presentation of nearby pattern elements. The present study investigated the shape and extent of the region of interaction as a function of retinal location. The stimuli consisted of 3 collinear [symbol: see text] s which were randomly oriented up ([symbol: see text]) or down ([symbol: see text]). The task was to discriminate the orientation of the middle [symbol: see text]. The retinal locations studied were at 0, 2.5, 5 and 10 degrees, on the lower vertical meridian and on the nasal halves of both the horizontal and the 45 degrees diagonal visual field meridians. The extent of the interaction region was defined as the separation between the midpoint of two adjacent [symbol: see text] s that resulted in 75% correct discrimination. The shape of the interaction region was determined by using several orientations (horizontal, vertical, left diagonal and right diagonal) for the virtual line joining the 3. [symbol: see text] s. Our results show that the size of the interaction regions varies linearly with eccentricity as does the size of a just resolved individual [symbol: see text]. However, the size of the interaction region varies much more rapidly than does the resolution threshold for an individual [symbol: see text]. The spatial interaction zones appear to be elongated radially, so that they have an elliptical shape. The size of the major axis is about 2-3 times the size of the minor axis. The major axis is along the meridian through the central visual field (i.e. it is oriented radially) while the minor axis is oriented tangentially (i.e. isoeccentrically).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Fovea Centralis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology
  • Visual Acuity / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology*