The influence of temporal phase differences on texture segmentation

U Leonards, W Singer, M Fahle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


Scene segmentation and perceptual grouping are important operations in visual processing. Pattern elements constituting individual perceptual objects need to be segregated from those of other objects and the background and have to be bound together for further joint evaluation. Both textural (spatial) and temporal cues are exploited for this grouping operation. Thus, pattern elements might get bound that share certain textural features and/or appear in close spatial or temporal contiguity. However, results on the involvement of temporal cues in perceptual grouping are contradictory [Kiper et al. (1991). Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 17, 1209; Fahle (1993). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 254, 199–203). We therefore reinvestigated the relative contributions of temporal and spatial cues and their interactions in a texture-segmentation paradigm. Our data show that the visual system can segregate figures solely on the basis of temporal cues if the temporal offset between figure and ground elements exceeds 10 msec. Moreover, segregation of figures defined by orientation differences among pattern elements is facilitated by additional temporal cues if these define the same figure. If temporal and textural cues define different figures, the two cues compete and only the more salient pattern is perceived. By contrast, the detection of a figure defined by orientation is not impaired by conflicting temporal cues if these do not define a figure themselves and do not exceed offset intervals of 100 msec. These results indicate the existence of a flexible binding mechanism that exploits both temporal and textural cues either alone or in combination if they serve perceptual grouping but can exclude either of the two cues if they are in conflict or do not define a figure. It is proposed that this flexibility is achieved by the implementation of two segmentation mechanisms which differ in their sensitivity for spatial and temporal cues and interact in a facultative way
Translated title of the contributionThe influence of temporal phase differences on texture segmentation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2689 - 2697
Number of pages9
JournalVision Research
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1996


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