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Claudia M. Hunter, Anne S. Warlaumont, Shimon Edelman; A behavioral handle on the phenomenology of scene perception. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):78. doi: 10.1167/5.8.78.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
What does the phenomenal impression made by a scene consist of? The answer, we conjecture, is scene structure: objects and their locations (“what” + “where”). If this is so, the impression must persist, even if for a short time, at those stages of the visual pathway where units tuned both to complex shapes and their locations are present (specifically, in areas V4 and TE). Studies of the neural correlates of visual awareness suggest that information represented at this level should be available to conscious access.
We study the ability of observers to recall, over a few intervening scenes, spatially anchored information concerning scene components, varying the number of objects, and the statistics of their absolute and relative location.
Our results indicate that scene structure—the phenomenal “what” + “where”—is psychologically real, and is briefly available to conscious recall. Moreover, the representation of such structure is modifiable by statistical learning, which can produce insensitivity to scene changes that fall within the expected norm, and heightened sensitivity to unusual changes, such as the translation of a familiar spatial arrangement to a new location.
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