Pooling of first-order inputs in second-order vision

Zachary M. Westrick, Michael S. Landy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The processing of texture patterns has been characterized by a model that first filters the image to isolate one texture component, then applies a rectifying nonlinearity that converts texture variation into intensity variation, and finally processes the resulting pattern with mechanisms similar to those used in processing luminance-defined images (spatial-frequency- and orientation-tuned filters). This model, known as FRF for filter rectify filter, has the appeal of explaining sensitivity to second-order patterns in terms of mechanisms known to exist for processing first-order patterns. This model implies an unexpected interaction between the first and second stages of filtering; if the first-stage filter consists of narrowband mechanisms tuned to detect the carrier texture, then sensitivity to high-frequency texture modulations should be much lower than is observed in humans. We propose that the human visual system must pool over first-order channels tuned to a wide range of spatial frequencies and orientations to achieve texture demodulation, and provide psychophysical evidence for pooling in a cross-carrier adaptation experiment and in an experiment that measures modulation contrast sensitivity at very low first-order contrast.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)108-117
Number of pages10
JournalVision research
StatePublished - 2013


  • Second-order vision
  • Texture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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