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Cathleen M Moore, Teresa Stephens, Elisabeth Hein; Disrupting surface features disrupts established object representations. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):817. doi: 10.1167/9.8.817.
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A recent study using the object-reviewing paradigm of Kahneman, Treisman, and Gibbs (1992) found that although spatiotemporal continuity consistently yielded object-specific preview benefits, surface features including color, luminance, topology, size, and contrast polarity, even in combination, did not (Mitroff & Alvarez, 2007). This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that spatiotemporal continuity plays a prioritized role in the establishment and maintenance of persisting object representations (Scholl, 2007). Using the same object-reviewing procedure as Mitroff and Alvarez, we found that introducing abrupt changes to surface features (e.g., color) during the motion trajectory eliminated the object-specific preview benefit. In contrast, making the object disappear for three frames of motion (approximately 40 ms), a manipulation that was at least as disruptive to the spatiotemporal continuity of the motion trajectory as was the surface-feature change, did not eliminate the object-specific preview benefit. Assuming that object-specific preview benefits reflect a good operationalization of object representations, the following conclusion can be drawn: Although surface features may be insufficient to establish object representations without supporting spatiotemporal continuity, they do play a role in the maintenance and updating of established object representations.
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