An analysis of U-shaped metacontrast

Ira H. Bernstein, Robert W. Proctor, Joseph Belcher, Donald L. Schurman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Using a brightness-discrimination task similar to that employed by Bernstein, Proctor, Proctor, and Schurman (1973), masking functions were obtained in two experiments. In Experiment I, test stimulus (TS) and mask stimulus (MS) energies were held constant but luminance and duration were varied reciprocally. The obtained masking functions, plotted as a function of stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA), were of an essentially identical U shape. This suggests that (a) SOA is a more suitable measure of delay than interstimulus interval, and (b) Bloch's law holds for the requisite discrimination. In Experiment II, TS luminance and MS luminance were varied independently. This was to see whether the MS served as a frame of reference at short SOA, as suggested previously (Bernstein et al, 1973). The results were that this was, in fact, the case and that the transition from comparative to absolute judgment strategies as SOA increases is a major contributor to U-shaped masking functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-336
Number of pages8
JournalPerception & Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1974

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Sensory Systems


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