A common rule for integration and suppression of luminance contrast across eyes, space, time, and pattern

Tim S. Meese, Daniel H. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Visual perception begins by dissecting the retinal image into millions of small patches for local analyses by local receptive fields. However, image structures extend well beyond these receptive fields and so further processes must be involved in sewing the image fragments back together to derive representations of higher order (more global) structures. To investigate the integration process, we also need to understand the opposite process of suppression. To investigate both processes together, we measured triplets of dipper functions for targets and pedestals involving interdigitated stimulus pairs (A, B). Previous work has shown that summation and suppression operate over the full contrast range for the domains of ocularity and space. Here, we extend that work to include orientation and time domains. Temporal stimuli were 15-Hz counter-phase sine-wave gratings, where A and B were the positive and negative phases of the oscillation, respectively. For orientation, we used orthogonally oriented contrast patches (A, B) whose sum was an isotropic difference of Gaussians. Results from all four domains could be understood within a common framework in which summation operates separately within the numerator and denominator of a contrast gain control equation. This simple arrangement of summation and counter-suppression achieves integration of various stimulus attributes without distorting the underlying contrast code.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Copyright is retained by the author(s) of this article. This open-access article is distributed under a Creative Commons Licence, which permits noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction, provided the original author(s) and source are credited and no alterations are made.


  • masking
  • dilution masking
  • dipper function
  • contrast integration
  • pooling
  • visual hierarchy
  • equation of the visual brain


Dive into the research topics of 'A common rule for integration and suppression of luminance contrast across eyes, space, time, and pattern'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this