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Alan Wong, Thomas Palmeri, Isabel Gauthier; Individuation training but not categorization training leads to configural processing of non-face objects. Journal of Vision 2008;8(6):883. doi: 10.1167/8.6.883.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Experience plays an important role in the specialization of the visual system for different object categories. Support comes from training studies showing that several hours of individuation experience with novel objects (‘Greebles’) result in behavioral and neural phenomena similar to those found for face perception (Gauthier et al., 1997, 1998). Surprisingly, it is unknown whether such training effects are specifically caused by experience individuating objects or whether other kinds of experience might be equally potent in causing these behavioral and neural changes. The current study compared two types of training to probe the effects of different kinds of object recognition experience. Two groups of participants went through training procedures that either emphasized individuation or categorization of a set of novel objects (‘Ziggerins’). The Ziggerin set contains 6 classes each with 12 individuals. Individuation training involved learning to uniquely identify each Ziggerin, similar to the demands of previous Greeble studies. Categorization training involved learning to rapidly categorize kinds of Ziggerins. Like the earlier Greeble studies, individuation training resulted in more improvement in recognition at the individual level than at the category level, and resulted in an increase in holistic and configural processing as measured using a composite paradigm (Young et al., 1987). Perceptual expertise individuating a set of novel objects specifically causes those objects to be processed in a more holistic and configural manner. In contrast, categorization training resulted in a larger improvement in recognition at the category than individual level, and led to little or no evidence for holistic or configural processing. Experience with novel objects in a task that does not require individuation was insufficient to produce face-like effects. Our finding that individuation training and categorization training have different behavioral consequences provides more support for an important role of experience in the specialization of the object recognition system.
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