(In) sensitivity to spatial distortion in natural scenes

J Vis. 2010 Feb 24;10(2):23.1-15. doi: 10.1167/10.2.23.


The perception of object structure in the natural environment is remarkably stable under large variation in image size and projection, especially given our insensitivity to spatial position outside the fovea. Sensitivity to periodic spatial distortions that were introduced into one quadrant of gray-scale natural images was measured in a 4AFC task. Observers were able to detect the presence of distortions in unfamiliar images even though they did not significantly affect the amplitude spectrum. Sensitivity depended on the spatial period of the distortion and on the image structure at the location of the distortion. The results suggest that the detection of distortion involves decisions made in the late stages of image perception and is based on an expectation of the typical structure of natural scenes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology*
  • Form Perception / physiology*
  • Fovea Centralis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Perceptual Distortion / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Space Perception / physiology*