Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Neural adjustments to image blur

Abstract

Blur is an intrinsic feature of retinal images that varies widely across images and observers, yet the world still typically appears 'in focus'. Here we examine the putative role of neural adaptation1 in the human perception of image focus by measuring how blur judgments depended on the state of adaptation. Exposure to unfocused images has previously been shown to influence acuity2,3 and contrast sensitivity2,4, and here we show that adaptation can also profoundly affect the actual perception of image focus.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

$32.00

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Blur adaptation.
Figure 2: Blur aftereffects between different test and adapting images.
Figure 3: Simultaneous blur contrast.

References

  1. Graham, N. Visual Pattern Analyzers (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 1989).

  2. Mon-Williams, M., Tresilian, J.R., Strang, N.C., Kochhar, P. & Wann, J.P. Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B Biol. Sci. 265, 71–77 (1998).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  3. Pesudovs, K. & Brennan, N.A. Optom. Vis. Sci. 70, 528–531 (1993).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Webster, M.A. SPIE 3644, 58–70 (1999).

    Google Scholar 

  5. Burton, G.J. & Moorhead, I.R. Appl. Opt. 26, 157–170 (1987).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Field, D.J.J. Opt. Soc. Am. A Opt. Image. Sci. Vis. 4, 2379–2394 (1987).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  7. De Valois, R.L. & De Valois, K.K. Spatial Vision (Oxford Univ. Press, Oxford, 1988).

  8. Field, D. & Brady, N. Vision Res. 37, 3367–3383 (1997).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  9. Watt, R.J. Pattern Recog. Lett. 5, 139–150 (1987).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Webster, M.A. Network 7, 587–634 (1996).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Tadmor, Y. & Tolhurst, D.J. Vision Res. 34, 541–554 (1994).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  12. Chubb, C., Sperling, G. & Solomon, J.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 86, 9631–9635 (1989).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  13. Georgeson, M.A. & Sullivan, G.D. J. Physiol. 252, 627–656 (1975).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  14. Brady, N. & Field, D.J. Vision Res. 35, 739–756 (1995).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by National Eye Institute Grant EY10834 (USA) and Wellcome Trust Grant 056093 (UK).

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Michael A. Webster.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Movie.

A demonstration of blur adaptation. The movie shows a pair of physically focused images before and after adapting for 5 sec to a sharpened (s =+0.5) or blurred (s = -0.5) version of the original image. Adaptation to the sharpened image on the right causes the original to appear blurrier, while adaptation to the blurred image on the left causes the original to appear sharper. The aftereffects are best observed by fixating the center dot, and by setting the movie to cycle repeatedly. (AVI 1055 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Webster, M., Georgeson, M. & Webster, S. Neural adjustments to image blur. Nat Neurosci 5, 839–840 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1038/nn906

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/nn906

This article is cited by

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing