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Impact Factor:0.917 | Ranking:Psychology 64 out of 76 | Psychology, Experimental 80 out of 85
Source:2016 Release of Journal Citation Reports, Source: 2015 Web of Science Data

Spatial Scale Interactions and Visual-Tracking Performance

  1. Howard C Hughes
  2. David M Aronchick
  3. Michael D Nelson
  1. Department of Psychology, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755, USA
  1. e-mail: HCH{at}Dartmouth.edu


It has previously been observed that low spatial frequencies (≤ 1.0 cycles deg−1) tend to dominate high spatial frequencies (≥ 5.0 cycles deg−1) in several types of visual-information-processing tasks. This earlier work employed reaction times as the primary performance measure and the present experiments address the possibility of low-frequency dominance by evaluating visually guided performance of a completely different response system: the control of slow-pursuit eye movements. Slow-pursuit gains (eye velocity/stimulus velocity) were obtained while observers attempted to track the motion of a sine-wave grating. The drifting gratings were presented on three types of background: a uniform background, a background consisting of a stationary grating, or a flickering background. Low-frequency dominance was evident over a wide range of velocities, in that a stationary high-frequency component produced little disruption in the pursuit of a drifting low spatial frequency, but a stationary low frequency interfered substantially with the tracking of a moving high spatial frequency. Pursuit was unaffected by temporal modulation of the background, suggesting that these effects are due to the spatial characteristics of the stationary grating. Similar asymmetries were observed with respect to the stability of fixation: active fixation was less stable in the presence of a drifting low frequency than in the presence of a drifting high frequency.

  • Received September 18, 1996.
  • Revision received March 21, 1997.
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