Similar mechanisms underlie simultaneous brightness contrast and grating induction

Barbara Blakeslee, Mark E. McCourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


The experiments explore whether the mechanism(s) underlying grating induction (GI) can also account for simultaneous brightness contrast (SBC). At each of three test field heights (1, 3 and 6 deg), point-by-point brightness matches were obtained from two subjects for test field widths of 32 deg (GI condition), 14, 12, 8, 6, 3 and 1 deg. The point-by-point brightness matches were quantitatively compared, using GI condition matches as a standard, to assess systematic alterations in the structure and average magnitude of brightness and darkness induction within the test fields as a function of changing test field height and width. In the wider test fields induction structure was present and was generally well-accounted for by the GI condition sinewave predictions. As test field width decreased the sinewave amplitude of the induced structure in the test field decreased (i.e., flattened), and eventually became negative (i.e., showed a reverse cusping) at the narrower test field widths. As expected, both subjects showed a decrease in overall levels of brightness and darkness induction with increasing test field height. For any particular test field height, however, relative brightness increased with decreasing test field width. This brightness increase began at larger test field widths as test field height increased. The results are parsimoniously accounted for by the output of a weighted, octave-interval array of seven difference-of-gaussian filters. This array of filters differs from those previously employed to model various aspects of spatial vision in that it includes filters tuned to much lower spatial frequencies. The two-dimensional output of this same array of filters also accounts for the GI demonstrations of Zaidi and Shapley and Reid's contrast and assimilation demonstration, and the induced spots seen at the street intersections of the Hermann Grid. The physiological plausibility of the filter array explanation of brightness induction is discussed, along with a consideration of its relationship to other models of brightness perception.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2849-2869
Number of pages21
JournalVision research
Issue number20
StatePublished - Oct 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Brightness
  • Classical brightness contrast
  • Filling-in
  • Grating induction
  • Induction
  • Simultaneous brightness contrast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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