Sensitivity to curvatures in orientation-based texture segmentation

Ohad Ben-Shahar, Steven W. Zucker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Texture segregation has long been attributed to changes in the distribution of elementary features across the visual field [Nature 290 (12) (1981) 91; Biol. Cybernet. 54 (1986) 245]. The study of orientation, a conspicuous feature, has led to models of orientation-based texture segmentation (OBTS) that depend on the magnitude of one or two orientation gradients [Vis. Res. 31 (4) (1991) 679; Vis. Res. 31 (6) (1991) 1073] and influenced further by the relative configuration between the orientation textons and the global orientation edge [Percept. Psychophys. 52 (4) (1992) 255; Vis. Res. 35 (20) (1995) 2863]. Here we show that these models are at best partial and that the notion of orientation gradient has been incompletely used in the study of OBTS. To do so, we first study the behavior of orientation in orientation-defined texture patches. Geometrical analysis identifies two texture curvatures and reveals the incompleteness of previous stimuli. Psychophysical experimentation then demonstrates that segmentation is strongly affected by discontinuities in these curvatures. Importantly, we show that this sensitivity to curvature is independent of the orientation gradients and inconsistent with the simple configural considerations proposed in the past.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)257-277
Number of pages21
JournalVision Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Curvature
  • Orientation
  • Segmentation
  • Texture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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