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Artificial scotoma-induced perceptual distortions are orientation dependent and short lived

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 May 2004

CHRIS TAILBY
Affiliation:
Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052, Australia
ANDREW METHA
Affiliation:
Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, The University of Melbourne, Parkville, 3052, Australia

Abstract

Conditioning human observers with an “artificial scotoma”—a small retinal area deprived of patterned stimulation within a larger area of dynamically textured noise—results in contractions and expansions of perceived space that are thought to reflect receptive-field changes among cells in the primary visual cortex (Kapadia et al., 1994). Here we show that one-dimensional counter-phase flickering grating patterns are also potent stimuli for producing artificial scotomata capable of altering three-element bisection ability analogous to those results reported earlier. Moreover, we found that the magnitude of the induced spatial distortions depends critically on the relative orientations of peri-scotomatous and test-stimulus spatial contrast. In addition, the perceptual distortions are found to be relatively short lived, decaying within 660 ms. The results support the hypothesis that artificial scotoma-induced perceptual distortions are generated by dynamic alteration of connection efficacy within a network linking cortical areas of similar orientation specificity, consistent with established anatomical and physiological results.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
2004 Cambridge University Press

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