The following is a summary of “Visual crowding: Double dissociation between orientation and brightness judgments,” published in the May 2023 issue of Ophthalmology by Cass, et al.
For a study, researchers sought to investigate the role of target-flanker orientation and color similarity in luminance and orientation performance during visual crowding. Specifically, they aimed to determine how these factors influence performance across different tasks under identical stimulus conditions.
Participants were presented with near-vertical Gabor patches as targets, defined by modulating only the green component of the RGB display. They performed separate blocks of target luminance and orientation discrimination tasks while the flanker hue (green or red flankers) and orientation (vertical or horizontal flankers) were manipulated at various target-flanker separations. The statistical analysis examined the relationship between task performance and target-flanker similarity.
The results revealed a double dissociation between task performance and the specific features defining target-flanker similarity. Target-flanker hue similarity highly influenced luminance judgments, whereas orientation judgments showed a different pattern, primarily contingent upon flanker orientation. The double dissociation decreased with increasing target-flanker separation, following the predictions of Bouma’s law. The findings suggested that crowding operates independently within the orientation and color domains.
The study proved that crowding effects are influenced by target-flanker similarity, with luminance judgments primarily affected by hue similarity and orientation judgments primarily affected by flanker orientation. It suggested that the neural mechanisms underlying perceived luminance are closely linked to those mediating stimulus hue, independent of those mediating stimulus orientation. The findings contributed to understanding how visual crowding operates and how different features interact in crowded visual environments.