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Olivier R. Joubert, Denis Fize, Guillaume A. Rousselet, Michèle Fabre-Thorpe; Early interference of context congruence on object processing in rapid visual categorization of natural scenes. Journal of Vision 2008;8(13):11. doi: 10.1167/8.13.11.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Whereas most scientists agree that scene context can influence object recognition, the time course of such object/context interactions is still unknown. To determine the earliest interactions between object and context processing, we used a rapid go/no-go categorization task in which natural scenes were briefly flashed and subjects required to respond as fast as possible to animal targets. Targets were pasted on congruent (natural) or incongruent (urban) contexts. Experiment 1 showed that pasting a target on another congruent background induced performance impairments, whereas segregation of targets on a blank background had very little effect on behavior. Experiment 2 used animals pasted on congruent or incongruent contexts. Context incongruence induced a 10% drop of correct hits and a 16-ms increase in median reaction times, affecting even the earliest behavioral responses. Experiment 3 replicated the congruency effect with other subjects and other stimuli, thus demonstrating its robustness. Object and context must be processed in parallel with continuous interactions possibly through feed-forward co-activation of populations of visual neurons selective to diagnostic features. Facilitation would be induced by the customary co-activation of “congruent” populations of neurons whereas interference would take place when conflictual populations of neurons fire simultaneously.
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