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Preattentive Human Vision: Link Between Neurophysiology and Psychophysics

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Abstract

The sections in this article are:

1 Textons: Fundamental Elements of Preattentive Vision
2 Axiomatic Theory of Preattentive Vision
3 Texton Differences Direct Focal Attention
4 Knowing “Where” Versus “What”
5 Texton Theory Compared with Other Two‐Visual‐Systems Theories
6 Implications for Neurophysiology
7 Conclusions
Figure 1. Figure 1.

Preattentive texture discrimination (between + and L) vs. element‐by‐element scrutiny (between T and L), called focal attention.

From Julesz and Bergen
Figure 2. Figure 2.

Preattentively discriminable texture pair. Left: different textons (line segments) and different number of ends‐of‐line; right same as left, except that orientation of elements is not randomized.

Figure 3. Figure 3.

Preattentively discriminable texture pair (middle), where the two elements (shown in left) have identical line segment textons but differ in their ends‐of‐line (terminators). Right: preattentive discrimination is so strong a single element can be detected among 35 elements in 100‐ms brief flash terminated by masking stimulus.

From Julesz and Bergen
Figure 4. Figure 4.

Preattentive texture discrimination based on terminator differences (2 vs. 5 terminators) alone. Otherwise, like Fig. .

From Julesz and Bergen
Figure 5. Figure 5.

Preattentively indistinguishable texture pair (middle) and indistinguishable target (right), although elements themselves appear very different (left).

From Julesz and Bergen
Figure 6. Figure 6.

Left: same as Figure , middle, except that the elements have identical orientations. Right: same as left except that the elements are square shaped.

Left from Julesz
Figure 7. Figure 7.

Combination of elements with identical textons (left) yield indistinguishable textons (middle) even when elements are square shaped (right).

Figure 8. Figure 8.

Similar to Fig. except that white elongated blobs (flanked by black line segments) modulate texton density and yield weak texture discrimination in right but not in middle.

Figure 9. Figure 9.

Role of crossing texton. Preattentive texture discrimination based on presence and absence of crossings (A) and indistinguishable texture pairs because pairs either have no crossing (B, C) or both have crossings (D).

From Julesz and Bergen
Figure 10. Figure 10.

A + stands out from L's because of crossing texton and not because of 1.4‐times apparent reduction of perceived size.

Figure 11. Figure 11.

Target detection with and without texton differences. Abscissa, stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA); ordinate, percent of correct response.

From Julesz and Bergen
Figure 12. Figure 12.

Finding of size constancy for detecting 1 T among 6 L's (or vice versa) for SOA = 100 ms indicates that aperture of focal attention can be minute portion of fovea. Diameter of targets ar,!ound fixation marker varies from 13.8° to 2.8° arc.

From Julesz and Bergen
Figure 13. Figure 13.

Left: preattentively discriminable quadrant based on small orientation difference from the rest. Right: same texture pair as left, but thin black lines at the texture boundary diminish preattentive texture discrimination.

From Frisby
Figure 14. Figure 14.

O'Brian‐Cornsweet illusion. Top has luminance profile shown at bottom when scanned across a center line. If perceived circular boundary between center disk and outside annulus is covered by thin string, entire stimulus appears to have uniform brightness.

From Cornsweet
Figure 15. Figure 15.

Model of preattentive/attentive visual system.

From Julesz and Bergen


Figure 1.

Preattentive texture discrimination (between + and L) vs. element‐by‐element scrutiny (between T and L), called focal attention.

From Julesz and Bergen


Figure 2.

Preattentively discriminable texture pair. Left: different textons (line segments) and different number of ends‐of‐line; right same as left, except that orientation of elements is not randomized.



Figure 3.

Preattentively discriminable texture pair (middle), where the two elements (shown in left) have identical line segment textons but differ in their ends‐of‐line (terminators). Right: preattentive discrimination is so strong a single element can be detected among 35 elements in 100‐ms brief flash terminated by masking stimulus.

From Julesz and Bergen


Figure 4.

Preattentive texture discrimination based on terminator differences (2 vs. 5 terminators) alone. Otherwise, like Fig. .

From Julesz and Bergen


Figure 5.

Preattentively indistinguishable texture pair (middle) and indistinguishable target (right), although elements themselves appear very different (left).

From Julesz and Bergen


Figure 6.

Left: same as Figure , middle, except that the elements have identical orientations. Right: same as left except that the elements are square shaped.

Left from Julesz


Figure 7.

Combination of elements with identical textons (left) yield indistinguishable textons (middle) even when elements are square shaped (right).



Figure 8.

Similar to Fig. except that white elongated blobs (flanked by black line segments) modulate texton density and yield weak texture discrimination in right but not in middle.



Figure 9.

Role of crossing texton. Preattentive texture discrimination based on presence and absence of crossings (A) and indistinguishable texture pairs because pairs either have no crossing (B, C) or both have crossings (D).

From Julesz and Bergen


Figure 10.

A + stands out from L's because of crossing texton and not because of 1.4‐times apparent reduction of perceived size.



Figure 11.

Target detection with and without texton differences. Abscissa, stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA); ordinate, percent of correct response.

From Julesz and Bergen


Figure 12.

Finding of size constancy for detecting 1 T among 6 L's (or vice versa) for SOA = 100 ms indicates that aperture of focal attention can be minute portion of fovea. Diameter of targets ar,!ound fixation marker varies from 13.8° to 2.8° arc.

From Julesz and Bergen


Figure 13.

Left: preattentively discriminable quadrant based on small orientation difference from the rest. Right: same texture pair as left, but thin black lines at the texture boundary diminish preattentive texture discrimination.

From Frisby


Figure 14.

O'Brian‐Cornsweet illusion. Top has luminance profile shown at bottom when scanned across a center line. If perceived circular boundary between center disk and outside annulus is covered by thin string, entire stimulus appears to have uniform brightness.

From Cornsweet


Figure 15.

Model of preattentive/attentive visual system.

From Julesz and Bergen
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How to Cite

Bela Julesz. Preattentive Human Vision: Link Between Neurophysiology and Psychophysics. Compr Physiol 2011, Supplement 5: Handbook of Physiology, The Nervous System, Higher Functions of the Brain: 585-604. First published in print 1987. doi: 10.1002/cphy.cp010514