Rating Riloids: the effect of curvature and luminance frequency on visual discomfort

A Clarke1, L O'Hare2, P B Hibbard3

1School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom
2School of Psychology, University of Lincoln, United Kingdom
3Department of Psychology, University of Essex, United Kingdom

Contact: aclark11@inf.ed.ac.uk

Visual discomfort is the adverse effects of viewing certain stimuli including symptoms such as headaches, eyestrain and diplopia, and distortions of vision such as perception of illusory colours and movement (Wilkins et al, Brain, 1984, 989-1017). These stimuli differ in their statistical properties to those of natural images, which could be the root of the discomfort. We examine curved striped patterns based on op-art, which have been shown to be capable of inducing perceptions of illusory movement (e.g. Zanker, Hermens and Walker, Journal of Vision, 2010, 10(2), 1-14), which would be included as ‘discomfort’ according to some definitions (e.g. Wilkins, Jeanes, Pumfrey and Laskier, Ophthal. Physiol. Optics, 2001, 16(6), 491-497). Whilst Zanker et al argued that the illusory movement is caused by erroneous motion signals, it has been argued that striped patterns cause discomfort through excessive neural responses, ‘hyperexcitation’ (Juricevic, Land, Wilkins and Webster, 2010, Perception, 39(7) 884-899). We investigated the relative contribution of these accounts to subjective discomfort judgements. As visual discomfort subjective, we present two methods for its measurement: 2AFC and magnitude estimation, finding good agreement between both, and an effect of luminance frequency, but not curvature on perceived discomfort.

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