The relative efficacy of cues for two-dimensional shape perception

Mark Nawrot, Elizabeth Shannon, Matthew Rizzo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


The visual system uses a variety of cues for form perception, including motion, color, binocular disparity, texture, and luminance. Physiological evidence suggests that these cues are processed by different neural mechanisms. Do the cues processed by some mechanisms convey any advantage for form perception when compared to cues processed by another? In response to this question we assessed the relative efficiency of several cues in conveying two-dimensional form from background noise. For the sake of comparison, every cue type used the same experimental design and stimulus set. Our results confirm that movement is one of the most efficient cues for shape perception. Also, a simple transient cue (an instantaneous flashing on or off) is equally useful. In comparison, local dot density (a type of texture cue) was the least efficient. The efficiencies of most other cues, such as color, stereopsis, and relative movement in noise, were conspicuously similar.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1141-1152
Number of pages12
JournalVision research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Color
  • Form
  • Motion
  • Neural pathway
  • Shape

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

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