The Perception of Subjective Surfaces

Unknown author (1981-11-01)

It is proposed that subjective contours are an artifact of the perception of natural three-dimensional surfaces. A recent theory of surface interpolation implies that "subjective surfaces" are constructed in the visual system by interpolation between three-dimensional values arising from interpretation of a variety of surface cues. We show that subjective surfaces can take any form, including singly and doubly curved surfaces, as well as the commonly discussed fronto-parallel planes. In addition, it is necessary in the context of computational vision to make explicit the discontinuities, both in depth and in surface orientation, in the surfaces constructed by interpolation. It is proposed that subjective surfaces and subjective contours are demonstrated. The role played by figure completion and enhanced brightness contrast in the determination of subjective surfaces is discussed. All considerations of surface perception apply equally to subjective surfaces.