Journal of experimental psychology. Human perception and performance vol:12 issue:2 pages:115-32
The contribution of decision factors to the meridional variations in line orientation discrimination was determined for two-alternative forced-choice experimental designs. Using Johnson's (1980) formalization of decision processes in discrimination tasks, we identified three decision factors: the decision rule, memory variance, and criterial noise. In a first experiment, we showed the effect of experimental design on orientation discrimination to be similar at horizontal and oblique standard orientations, indicating that the meridional variations in orientation discrimination were not due to a decision rule anisotropy. In a second experiment, the effect of the interstimulus interval was also found to be similar at both standard orientations, suggesting that the memory variance is isotropic in the orientation domain. The results of two other experiments supported the hypothesis that the meridional variations in orientation discrimination are not due to a criterial noise anisotropy. These different results strongly suggested that the oblique effect in line orientation discrimination is due to sensorial factors rather than to decision factors. Therefore, they further support the hypothesis linking the anisotropy of the preferred orientation distribution of Area 17-S cells (a single physiologically defined class of cells in the primary visual cortex) and the meridional variations in line orientation discrimination.