Metacontrast and brightness discrimination

Ira H. Bernsteint, Janet D. Proctor, Robert W. Proctor, Donald L. Schurman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


An attempt was made to obtain U-shaped masking functions in two metacontrast experiments. Trained Ss judged whether a square test stimulus (TS) was bright or dim. The TS was presented alone or in conjunction with an adjacent pair of square masking stimuli (MS) whose energy equaled the bright TS. The stimulus onset asynchronies (SOA) rangedfrom 0 to 125 msec. The task minimized the role of apparent movement cues as a reliable basis for judgrnent. Similar studies have employed TS plus MS vs MS alone as the alternatives, allowing apparent movement to be a cue. Brightness accuracy was a U-shaped function of SOA. This finding is consistent with neural-net models (Weisstein, 1968). However, analysis of Ss' response bias suggested an alternative explanation involving the MS as a comparison stimulus at short SOA. It was concluded that U-shaped masking functions are also consistent with theories based upon independent component processes, e.g., Schurman and Eriksen (1970) and Uttal (1970).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-297
Number of pages5
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Psychology(all)


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