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Michi Matsukura, Shaun P. Vecera; “Your first organization influences your second”: Does attention stick to location, color, or both? Evidence from a priming paradigm. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):515. doi: 10.1167/5.8.515.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Koffka (1935) first suggested that an initial figure-ground (FG) perception could influence a second perception. The mechanisms that produce this FG carry-over effect remain unclear. We hypothesized that this effect is caused by our attention to the color and location of the figural region. In the present study, we introduce a figural priming paradigm to examine whether an initial percept affects a second percept based on either the color or location of the perceived figures. In Experiment 1, observers viewed displays with three shapes. In prime displays, a red/green FG display appeared above a single shape; observers determined if the single shape was the same or different as the shape of corresponding color in the FG display. 100ms after the prime trial, the probe trial followed. Observers performed the identical task with the prime trial. The critical comparison was between two probe trial conditions: when the target color of the shape-matching task was identical between prime and probe trials (no color change), and different between prime and probe displays (color change). If the first FG organization affected the second, observers' responses would be slower in color change than in no color change. If the first FG organization was independent of the second FG organization, observers response latency would be the approximately the same between these two conditions. We found that observers responded significantly slower in color change than in no color change. In Experiment 2, we examined if location of the perceived figure could influence the perception of a second figure. We switched sides of the figures across prime and probe displays. The results of these experiments suggest that FG assignment can be ‘primed’ by the color and location of previously perceived figures. These results are consistent with findings from visual search (e.g., Maljkovic & Nakayama, 1994, 1996) and suggest that FG processes and visual attention may rely on shared mechanisms.
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