Seeing edge blur: receptive fields as multiscale neural templates

Mark A. Georgeson

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceOtherpeer-review


Edge blur is an important perceptual cue, but how does the visual system encode the degree of blur at edges? Blur could be measured by the width of the luminance gradient profile, peak ^ trough separation in the 2nd derivative profile, or the ratio of 1st-to-3rd derivative magnitudes. In template models, the system would store a set of templates of different sizes and find which one best fits the `signature' of the edge. The signature could be the luminance profile itself, or one of its spatial derivatives. I tested these possibilities in blur-matching experiments. In a 2AFC staircase procedure, observers adjusted the blur of Gaussian edges (30% contrast) to match the perceived blur of various non-Gaussian test edges. In experiment 1, test stimuli were mixtures of 2 Gaussian edges (eg 10 and 30 min of arc blur) at the same location, while in experiment 2, test stimuli were formed from a blurred edge sharpened to different extents by a compressive transformation. Predictions of the various models were tested against the blur-matching data, but only one model was strongly supported. This was the template model, in which the input signature is the 2nd derivative of the luminance profile, and the templates are applied to this signature at the zero-crossings. The templates are Gaussian derivative receptive fields that covary in width and length to form a self-similar set (ie same shape, different sizes). This naturally predicts that shorter edges should look sharper. As edge length gets shorter, responses of longer templates drop more than shorter ones, and so the response distribution shifts towards shorter (smaller) templates, signalling a sharper edge. The data confirmed this, including the scale-invariance implied by self-similarity, and a good fit was obtained from templates with a length-to-width ratio of about 1. The simultaneous analysis of edge blur and edge location may offer a new solution to the multiscale problem in edge detection.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2002
EventVisions of Vision — 6th Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting - Aston University, Birmingham (UK)
Duration: 17 Dec 2001 → …


OtherVisions of Vision — 6th Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting
CityAston University, Birmingham (UK)
Period17/12/01 → …

Bibliographical note

Abstract published in Visions of Vision—Sixth Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting Aston University, Birmingham, UK, 17 December 2001. Abstracts, Perception, (2002, 1990) 31 (3), p.376, 0301-0066.


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