NoA current, popular, theory of spatial localization holds that the visual system represents the location of simple objects by a single positional tag, the accuracy of which is largely independent of the internal properties of the object. We have already presented evidence of the limitations of such a view (Keeble & Hess (1998). Vision Research, 38, 827-840) in that 3-micropattern alignment performance was found to be dependent on the orientation of the micropatterns. We tested whether this was caused by a local anisotropy in positional coding by conducting 3-micropattern bisection experiments with varying patch orientation. No corresponding effect of patch orientation was found, implying a difference in the mechanisms used for the two tasks. In a further experiment we show that alignment task performance is very similar to the otherwise identical 2-patch orientation discrimination task. We conclude that the 3-micropattern alignment task is mediated by orientational mechanisms. We therefore present a 2nd-order orientation model for 3-patch alignment
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