Abstract

It has been commonly reported that the temporal integration of grating contrast proceeds more slowly as spatial frequency is increased. Such results have been based on the critical duration for sensitivity to contrast pulses varying in duration, but the analyses have not assumed full integration at short durations and have neglected the effects of probability summation over time. To take such effects into account, we discuss a class of analytical models based on nonlinear temporal integration. On the assumption that the temporal impulse response of the visual system determines contrast integration over time, we develop both a high-threshold model and a signal-detection approach involving multiple and independent nonlinear signal detectors with a time-limited integration span. The redefined critical durations predicted by the models and verified by the data are about 35 msec and vary by no more than 10 msec across spatial frequency. This variation is entirely attributable to a change in the strength of inhibition with spatial frequency, and the analysis implies that the excitatory component is constant at all spatial frequencies, contrary to previous accounts.

© 1986 Optical Society of America

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