Effect of Surrounding Blur on Foveal Visibility

Hiroyuki Sakai*, 1, Takayuki Kannon2, Shiro Usui1
1 Laboratory for Neuroinformatics, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan
2 Department of Information and Computer Sciences, Toyohashi University of Technology, Japan

2007 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Laboratory for Neuroinformatics, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan; E-mail:


Visibility of a simple stimulus is known to be determined not only by its physical contrast, but also by the configuration of surrounding stimuli. In this study, we investigated the surrounding modulation of foveal visibility of a blurred target. Subjects were instructed to respond to the gap orientation of a Gaussian-blurred Landolt ring presented at a fixation point with a surrounding stimulus. The correct response rate was measured as a metric of the foveal visibility. Results were subsequently compared among different surrounding stimulus conditions. Results showed an improvement in the subjects’ performance when low-pass white noise filtered with the same Gaussian function used for the target was presented in the surrounding area, although no effect was observed using high-contrast white noise. A performance improvement was observed when the surround stimulus had an intermediate contrast in the spatial frequency band necessary for identifying the target orientation.