On the relation between summation and facilitation

Vision Res. 1987;27(1):119-23. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(87)90148-9.


Summation refers to the small reduction of threshold contrast as a signal is extended in space or time, or when multiple signals are presented simultaneously. Facilitation refers to the large reduction in the threshold contrast increment when it is superimposed on a near-threshold pedestal contrast. Separate hypotheses relate each of these effects to distinct measures of the log-log steepness of the psychometric function. This note shows that for 2-alternative forced-choice (2afc) proportion correct, the Weibull function P(c) = 1-(1-gamma) exp[-(c/alpha) beta] and the d' power law d'(c) = (c/c0.76)b are practically indistinguishable. Furthermore, their steepness parameters are proportional to each other, beta = 1.247 b. This implies a simple relation between 2afc summation and facilitation which can be tested without measuring the psychometric function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Psychometrics
  • Sensory Thresholds / physiology*
  • Visual Acuity
  • Visual Perception / physiology