July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
The Color of Perceptual Expertise
Author Affiliations
  • Simen Hagen
    Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, British Columbia
  • Quoc Vuong
    Institute of Neuroscience, School of Psychology, Newcastle University
  • James Tanaka
    Department of Psychology, University of Victoria, British Columbia
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 667. doi:10.1167/13.9.667
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      Simen Hagen, Quoc Vuong, James Tanaka; The Color of Perceptual Expertise. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):667. doi: 10.1167/13.9.667.

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

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Abstract

The extent to which color is used in high-level vision is contentious. Proponents of edge-based theories suggest that objects are recognized mainly based on their shape. On the other hand, surface-plus-edge-based theories support the notion that color and shape both contribute to object recognition. In favor of the latter account, objects that are strongly associated with color (i.e., high color diagnostic objects) are recognized faster when shown in a congruent color than when shown in an incongruent color or in gray-scale (Tanaka & Presnell, 1999). The extent to which this association depends on experience remains uncertain.

In the current study, we examined the effects of experience and color on object recognition. In Experiment 1, expert bird watchers and novice participants were asked to categorize common birds at the subordinate level (e.g., "robin"). The bird images were shown in their congruent color, incongruent color and grey-scale. The main finding was that the expert bird watchers were faster to categorize congruent color versions of the bird images than they were to categorize incongruent color and grey-scale versions. In contrast, the novice participants were equally as fast at categorizing congruent color, incongruent color and grey-scale versions of the birds. In Experiment 2, expert bird watchers were asked to categorize congruent color, incongruent color and grey-scale images of birds at the sub-subordinate level (e.g., "nashville warbler"). Bird experts were faster to categorize congruent color versions of the birds compared to incongruent color and grey-scale versions. Collectively, the current findings demonstrate that the fast and accurate recognition of birds by expert bird watchers is facilitated by color information. Thus, perceptual experience can enhance the object representation to include color.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013

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