The effects of opposite-polarity dipoles on the detection of Glass patterns,Vision Res, 6-7 (46), 1139-1144.
Glass patterns–randomly positioned coherently orientated dipoles–create a strong sensation of oriented spatial structure. On the other hand, coherently oriented dipoles comprising dots of opposite polarity (“anti-Glass” patterns) have no distinct spatial structure and are very hard to distinguish from random noise. Although anti-Glass patterns have no obvious spatial structure themselves, their presence can destroy the structure created by Glass patterns. We measured the strength of this effect for both static and dynamic Glass patterns, and showed that anti-Glass patterns can raise thresholds for Glass patterns by a factor of 2-4, increasing with density. The dependence on density suggests that the interactions occur at a local level. When the Glass and anti-Glass dipoles were confined to alternate strips (in translational and circular Glass patterns), the detrimental effect occurred for stripe widths less than about 1.5 degrees, but had little effect for larger stripe widths, reinforcing the suggestion that the interaction occurred over a limited spatial extent. The extent of spatial interaction was much less than that for spatial summation of these patterns, at least 30 degrees under matched experimental conditions. The results suggest two stages of analysis for Glass patterns, an early stage of limited spatial extent where orientation is extracted, and a later stage that sums these orientation signals.