Abrupt changes in the color or luminance of a visual image potentially indicate object boundaries. Here, we consider how these cues to the visual “edge” location are combined when they conflict. We measured the extent to which localization of a compound edge can be predicted from a simple maximum likelihood estimation model using the reliability of chromatic (L−M) and luminance signals alone. Maximum likelihood estimation accurately predicted the pattern of results across a range of contrasts. Predictions consistently overestimated the relative influence of the luminance cue; although L−M is often considered a poor cue for localization, it was used more than expected. This need not indicate that the visual system is suboptimal but that its priors about which cue is more useful are not flat. This may be because, although strong changes in chromaticity typically represent object boundaries, changes in luminance can be caused by either a boundary or a shadow.
- Cue combination