- Low-level contrast statistics are diagnostic of invariance of natural textures
- Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience
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- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Informatics Institute (IVI)
Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
Texture may provide important clues for real world object and scene perception. To be reliable, these clues should ideally be invariant to common viewing variations such as changes in illumination and orientation. In a large image database of natural materials, we found textures with low-level contrast statistics that varied substantially under viewing variations, as well as textures that remained relatively constant. This led us to ask whether textures with constant contrast statistics give rise to more invariant representations compared to other textures. To test this, we selected natural texture images with either high (HV) or low (LV) variance in contrast statistics and presented these to human observers. In two distinct behavioral categorization paradigms, participants more often judged HV textures as "different" compared to LV textures, showing that textures with constant contrast statistics are perceived as being more invariant. In a separate electroencephalogram (EEG) experiment, evoked responses to single texture images (single-image ERPs) were collected. The results show that differences in contrast statistics correlated with both early and late differences in occipital ERP amplitude between individual images. Importantly, ERP differences between images of HV textures were mainly driven by illumination angle, which was not the case for LV images: there, differences were completely driven by texture membership. These converging neural and behavioral results imply that some natural textures are surprisingly invariant to illumination changes and that low-level contrast statistics are diagnostic of the extent of this invariance.
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