When there are many visual items, the visual system could represent their summary statistics (e.g., mean, variance) to process them efficiently. Although many previous studies have investigated the mean or variance representation itself, a relationship between these two ensemble representations has not been investigated much. In this study, we tested the potential interaction between mean and variance representations by using a visual adaptation method. We reasoned that if mean and variance representations interact with each other, an adaptation aftereffect to either mean or variance would influence the perception of the other. Participants watched a sequence of orientation arrays containing a specific statistical property during the adaptation period. To produce an adaptation aftereffect specific to variance or mean, one property of the adaptor arrays (variance or mean) had a fixed value while the other property was randomly varied. After the adaptation, participants were asked to discriminate the property of the test array that was randomly varied during the adaptation. We found that the adaptation aftereffect of orientation variance influenced the sensitivity of mean orientation discrimination (Experiment 1), and that the adaptation aftereffect of mean orientation influenced the bias of orientation variance discrimination (Experiment 2). These results suggest that mean and variance representations do closely interact with each other. Considering that mean and variance reflect the representative value and dispersion of multiple items respectively, the interactions between mean and variance representations may reflect their complementary roles to summarize complex visual information effectively.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sensory Systems