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Surround masking reveals binocular adding and differencing channels.

Vision Research 2024 April 19
Recent studies suggest that binocular adding S+ and differencing S- channels play an important role in binocular vision. To test for such a role in the context of binocular contrast detection and binocular summation, we employed a surround masking paradigm consisting of a central target disk surrounded by a mask annulus. All stimuli were horizontally oriented 0.5c/d sinusoidal gratings. Correlated stimuli were identical in interocular spatial phase while anticorrelated stimuli were opposite in interocular spatial phase. There were four target conditions: monocular left eye, monocular right eye, binocular correlated and binocular anticorrelated, and three surround mask conditions: no surround, binocularly correlated and binocularly anticorrelated. We observed consistent elevation of detection thresholds for monocular and binocular targets across the two binocular surround mask conditions. In addition, we found an interaction between the type of surround and the type of binocular target: both detection and summation were relatively enhanced by surround masks and targets with opposite interocular phase relationships and reduced by surround masks and targets with the same interocular phase relationships. The data were reasonably well accounted for by a model of binocular combination termed MAX (S+S-), in which the decision variable is the probability summation of modeled S+ and S- channel responses, with a free parameter determining the relative gains of the two channels. Our results support the existence of two channels involved in binocular combination, S+ and S-, whose relative gains are adjustable by surround context.

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