Letter identification is not scale invariant!

Najib Majaj, Peri Kurshan, Denis Pelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Using critical-band masking, we characterized the channels mediating identification of letters in several fonts and alphabets (Bookman, Künstler, Sloan, and Chinese) over a wide range of size (0.07 to 10 deg). Line frequency is the average number of lines crossed by a rule through a letter, divided by the letter size. We expected channel frequency to be proportional to line frequency, but instead we find that it grows as only the 2/3 power of line frequency. Furthermore, the efficiency of letter identification in noise rises and falls as a function of line frequency, consistent with a simple model of the effect of the mismatch between channel and line frequency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S639
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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