The Oriented Difference of Gaussians (ODOG) model of brightness perception: Overview and executable Mathematica notebooks

Barbara Blakeslee, Davis Cope, Mark E. McCourt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


The Oriented Difference of Gaussians (ODOG) model of brightness (perceived intensity) by Blakeslee and McCourt (Vision Research 39:4361-4377, 1999), which is based on linear spatial filtering by oriented receptive fields followed by contrast normalization, has proven highly successful in parsimoniously predicting the perceived intensity (brightness) of regions in complex visual stimuli such as White's effect, which had been believed to defy filter-based explanations. Unlike competing explanations such as anchoring theory, filling-in, edge-integration, or layer decomposition, the spatial filtering approach embodied by the ODOG model readily accounts for the often overlooked but ubiquitous gradient structure of induction which, while most striking in grating induction, also occurs within the test fields of classical simultaneous brightness contrast and the White stimulus. Also, because the ODOG model does not require defined regions of interest, it is generalizable to any stimulus, including natural images. The ODOG model has motivated other researchers to develop modified versions (LODOG and FLODOG), and has served as an important counterweight and proof of concept to constrain high-level theories which rely on less well understood or justified mechanisms such as unconscious inference, transparency, perceptual grouping, and layer decomposition. Here we provide a brief but comprehensive description of the ODOG model as it has been implemented since 1999, as well as working Mathematica (Wolfram, Inc.) notebooks which users can employ to generate ODOG model predictions for their own stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-312
Number of pages7
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Complex visual stimuli
  • Model of brightness
  • Notebooks
  • ODOG model predictions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'The Oriented Difference of Gaussians (ODOG) model of brightness perception: Overview and executable Mathematica notebooks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this