Early Vision and Texture Perception
James R. Bergen and Edward H. Adelson
Nature, vol. 333, pp. 363-364 (1988).
Texture perception has frequently been studied using textures constructed by repeated placement of micropatterns or
texture elements. Theories have been developed to explain the discriminability of such textures in terms of specific
features within the micropatterns themselves. For example, Beck(1,2) observed that a region filled with vertical Ts
is readily distinguished from one filled with tilted Ts but not from one filled with vertical Ls. He attributed this
to the different distribution of oriented line segments preventing the former case but not in the latter. However,
Bergen and Julesz(3) found that a region of randomly oriented Xs segregated from one filled with randomly oriented
Ls, in spite of the identical distribution of oriented line segments in the two eases. They suggested that this
discrimination might be based on the density of such features as terminators, corners, and intersections within the
patterns. We note here that simpler, lower-level mechanisms tuned for size may be sufficient to explain this
discrimination. We tested this by varying the relative sizes of the Xs and the Ls; when they produce equal responses
in size-tuned mechanisms they are hard to discriminate, and when they produce different size-tuned responses they are
easy to discriminate.