Motion sharpening and contrast: Gain control precedes compressive non-linearity?

Stephen T. Hammett*, Mark A. Georgeson, Samantha Bedingham, Gillian S. Barbieri-Hesse

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Blurred edges appear sharper in motion than when they are stationary. We (Vision Research 38 (1998) 2108) have previously shown how such distortions in perceived edge blur may be accounted for by a model which assumes that luminance contrast is encoded by a local contrast transducer whose response becomes progressively more compressive as speed increases. If the form of the transducer is fixed (independent of contrast) for a given speed, then a strong prediction of the model is that motion sharpening should increase with increasing contrast. We measured the sharpening of periodic patterns over a large range of contrasts, blur widths and speeds. The results indicate that whilst sharpening increases with speed it is practically invariant with contrast. The contrast invariance of motion sharpening is not explained by an early, static compressive non-linearity alone. However, several alternative explanations are also inconsistent with these results. We show that if a dynamic contrast gain control precedes the static non-linear transducer then motion sharpening, its speed dependence, and its invariance with contrast, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy. © 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1187-1199
Number of pages13
JournalVision Research
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - May 2003


  • blurred edges appear
  • motion
  • stationary
  • perceived edge blur
  • luminance contrast
  • local contrast transducer
  • response
  • speed
  • transducer


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