CONFIGURATIONAL ASYMMETRY IN VERNIER OFFSET DETECTION
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Two psychophysical experiments were conducted at the horizontal and vertical orientations respectively, demonstrating substantial main effect of configuration, but no effect of offset direction on vernier acuity. In Experiment 1, a pair of horizontal bars were arranged side by side with a large gap between them. The observers were, on average, significantly better at discriminating a vertical offset if the right-hand bar was below the left-hand bar than vice versa, regardless of which bar they experienced as displaced and which as constant. A similar asymmetry was evident in Experiment 2 where observers judged horizontal offset for a pair of vertically oriented bars, where one was placed above the other. In this case average performance was better if the upper bar was on the right of the lower bar rather than on its left. There were large individual variations in the asymmetrical trend, but the effect could not be explained by subjective response bias. Furthermore, vernier acuity improved significantly and the asymmetry decreased more or less as a function of training. The average asymmetrical trend was consistent across training days and across two orientations, which indicates that the processing of line vernier stimuli is possibly configuration-specific in the cardinal orientation.
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