Paper in Journal of Vision
  • Apthorp, D., Cass, J., & Alais, D. (2010). Orientation tuning of contrast masking caused by motion streaks. Journal of Vision, 10(10), 11:11-13.

    We investigated whether the oriented trails of blur left by fast-moving dots (i.e., “motion streaks”) effectively mask grating targets. Using a classic overlay masking paradigm, we varied mask contrast and target orientation to reveal underlying tuning. Fast-moving Gaussian blob arrays elevated thresholds for detection of static gratings, both monoptically and dichoptically. Monoptic masking at high mask (i.e., streak) contrasts is tuned for orientation and exhibits a similar bandwidth to masking functions obtained with grating stimuli (~30 degrees). Dichoptic masking fails to show reliable orientation-tuned masking, but dichoptic masks at very low contrast produce a narrowly tuned facilitation (~17 degrees). For iso-oriented streak masks and grating targets, we also explored masking as a function of mask contrast. Interestingly, dichoptic masking shows a classic “dipper”-like TVC function, whereas monoptic masking shows no dip and a steeper “handle”. There is a very strong unoriented component to the masking, which we attribute to transiently biased temporal frequency masking. Fourier analysis of “motion streak” images shows interesting differences between dichoptic and monoptic functions and the information in the stimulus. Our data add weight to the growing body of evidence that the oriented blur of motion streaks contributes to the processing of fast motion signals.