July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
When crowding of crowding leads to uncrowding
Author Affiliations
  • Mauro Manassi
    Laboratory of Psychophysics, Brain Mind Institute, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • Bilge Sayim
    Laboratory of Psychophysics, Brain Mind Institute, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
  • Michael H Herzog
    Laboratory of Psychophysics, Brain Mind Institute, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 624. doi:10.1167/13.9.624
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      Mauro Manassi, Bilge Sayim, Michael H Herzog; When crowding of crowding leads to uncrowding. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):624. doi: 10.1167/13.9.624.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

In crowding, target discrimination is impaired by flanking elements. What happens if a target is neighbored by flankers A and in addition by further flankers B? According to pooling models, crowding is the consequence of averaging features of target and flankers. Hence, pooling models predict strong crowding when the target is flanked by two flankers. We determined offset discrimination thresholds for verniers at 9° of eccentricity. When the vernier was embedded in a square, thresholds increased compared to the unflanked threshold - a classical crowding effect. Surprisingly, when adding more squares, thresholds did not increase, but crowding almost vanished. Hence, crowding of crowding leads to uncrowding. We propose that this un-crowding effect can be explained in terms of grouping. Grouping between the vernier and the central square leads to crowding by the Gestalt principle of common region. Grouping of the central and the neighboring squares by the Gestalt principle of similarity, leads to ungrouping of the vernier, and to un-crowding.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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