Abstract

The zero crossings of band-limited signals are known to be rich in information. Recent models of information processing in biological visual systems have proposed that image structure is represented initially by such zero crossings, after the image has been bandpass filtered at multiple scales by neural receptive fields whose two-dimensional profiles resemble the Laplacian of a Gaussian. Because the resulting zero crossings generally correspond to physically meaningful structures such as edges and occlusion boundaries, and indeed under some conditions can exhaustively specify the original image, such representations have proven useful and efficient in a variety of machine vision problems. However, some simple information-processing operations that are apparent in human pattern and motion vision can be shown to be impossible in such representations, because the zero crossings in the bandpassed signals do not capture the necessary information (at any scale of analysis), because the information that they provide is misleading, or because there are no such crossings in the signals after ∇2Gσ filtering at any scale. Examples are provided of simple visual signal-processing tasks (texture discrimination, motion perception, pattern detection) that human beings can perform effortlessly but that cannot be performed in the proposed multiscale ∇2Gσ zero-crossings schemes. These perceptual capabilities offer evidence against this model of early image representation in human vision.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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