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Asymmetries in the Machband phenomena

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The Mach bands are directly related to the size and the shape of on-center off-surround neural units in human vision. The effects of various stimulus parameters were studied on both bright and dark bands of equal plateau intensities. At low overall intensities, the dark band increases markedly in width, while the bright band does not. However, the bandwidth is more affected by the brightness slope, than by the plateau intensity per se. In this case, both bands vary approximately linearly and inversely with the log of the slope. The bright bands are slightly wider (4′) than the dark bands, for matched intensities. Both bands almost double in width with only a ±30′ para-foveal fixation. Optical blur enlarges the bands as predicted from the spread function. A comparable enlarging effect found with pupil size increase is not so readily understood. The apparent centers of the bright bands are positioned significantly more asymmetrically between the two edges than are the dark band centers. Eccentric neural units are considered as possible explanations for some of these non-linearities.

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Supported, in part, by Research Grant No. EY00319-05 from the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, and by a fight for Sight Grant-in-Aid G-428 from the National Council to Combat Blindness, Inc., New York, New York.

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Shipley, T., Wier, C. Asymmetries in the Machband phenomena. Kybernetik 10, 181–189 (1972). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00288736

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  • Size Increase
  • Human Vision
  • Pupil Size
  • Dark Band
  • Band Center