Visual adaptation and the amplitude spectra of radiological images

Elysse Kompaniez-Dunigan, Craig K. Abbey, John M. Boone, Michael A. Webster

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

We examined how visual sensitivity and perception are affected by adaptation to the characteristic amplitude spectra of X-ray mammography images. Because of the transmissive nature of X-ray photons, these images have relatively more low-frequency variability than natural images, a difference that is captured by a steeper slope of the amplitude spectrum (~ − 1.5) compared to the ~ 1/f (slope of − 1) spectra common to natural scenes. Radiologists inspecting these images are therefore exposed to a different balance of spectral components, and we measured how this exposure might alter spatial vision. Observers (who were not radiologists) were adapted to images of normal mammograms or the same images sharpened by filtering the amplitude spectra to shallower slopes. Prior adaptation to the original mammograms significantly biased judgments of image focus relative to the sharpened images, demonstrating that the images are sufficient to induce substantial after-effects. The adaptation also induced strong losses in threshold contrast sensitivity that were selective for lower spatial frequencies, though these losses were very similar to the threshold changes induced by the sharpened images. Visual search for targets (Gaussian blobs) added to the images was also not differentially affected by adaptation to the original or sharper images. These results complement our previous studies examining how observers adapt to the textural properties or phase spectra of mammograms. Like the phase spectrum, adaptation to the amplitude spectrum of mammograms alters spatial sensitivity and visual judgments about the images. However, unlike the phase spectrum, adaptation to the amplitude spectra did not confer a selective performance advantage relative to more natural spectra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalCognitive Research: Principles and Implications
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Keywords

  • Adaptation
  • Blur perception
  • Medical images
  • Natural image statistics
  • Spatial contrast sensitivity
  • Spatial vision
  • Visual search

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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