In natural scenes, two adjacent surfaces may differ in mean luminance without any sharp change in luminance at their boundary, but rather due to different relative proportions of light and dark regions within each surface. We refer to such boundaries as luminance texture boundaries (LTBs), and in this study we investigate interactions between luminance texture boundaries and luminance step boundaries (LSBs) in a segmentation task. Using a simple masking paradigm, we find very little influence of LSB maskers on LTB segmentation thresholds. Similarly, we find only modest effects of LTB maskers on LSB thresholds. By contrast, each kind of boundary strongly masks targets of the same kind. Our data is consistent with the possibility that luminance texture boundaries may be segmented using different mechanisms than those used to segment luminance step boundaries. At the same time, our work also suggests that LTB segmentation is subject to influences from LSBs. We suggest that the relative robustness of LTB segmentation to interference from LSBs may serve the ecologically important role of providing robustness to changes in luminance caused by cast shadows, and we propose future experimental work to investigate this hypothesis.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience