The relatively small decline in orientation acuity as stimulus size decreases

J. Andrew Henrie, Robert M. Shapley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Orientation acuity was measured with circular patches of sinusoidal gratings of various sizes. Threshold estimates were lowest (acuity highest) for the largest size patch, and increased as the stimulus size was reduced, consistent with the results of many researchers using line stimuli. These results are compared with the predictions of a simple and widely accepted model of spatial vision whereby the output of independent feed-forward filters are combined to produce threshold estimates. Specifically, the rectified output of a number of independent filters (i.e. Gabors) spanning the stimulus space (i.e. orientation) are combined via Bayesian decision theory. This model cannot account quantitatively for the relatively low thresholds estimated for the small sized stimuli when compared to the thresholds measured with larger patches. Application of a comparable analysis, with preliminary measurements of neuronal responses from primary visual cortex replacing the response rectified Gabor filter's responses, provides a more reasonable account of behavioral acuity. This indicates a fundamental inadequacy of the feed-forward filter model in accounting for V1 neurons' role in perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1723-1733
Number of pages11
JournalVision research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jun 1 2001


  • Bayesian decision theory
  • Orientation acuity
  • Sinusoidal gratings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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