The amplitude and phase spectra of an image contain important information for perception, and a large body of work has investigated the effects of manipulating these spectra on the recognition or classification of image content. Here, we use a novel means of investigating sensitivity to amplitude and phase spectra properties, testing the ability of observers to detect degradations of the spectral content of synthetic images of textured surfaces that are broadband in the frequency domain. The effects of display time and retinal eccentricity on sensitivity to these two manipulations are compared using stimuli matched for difficulty of detection. We find no difference between the time courses for the detection of degradation in the two spectra; in both cases, accuracy rises above chance when display times are greater than 80 ms. Increasing retinal eccentricity to 8.7°, however, has a significantly stronger effect on the accuracy of detecting degradations of the amplitude spectrum than of the phase spectrum. Further, sensitivity to phase randomization that is restricted to low spatial frequencies is greater in the periphery (at 8.7° eccentricity) than in the fovea. These last two results imply that the fovea and periphery are specialized for the processing of phase spectrum information in distinct spatial frequency bands.
- display time