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Carmela Gottesman; More Space Please! The effect of clutter on Boundary Extension. Journal of Vision 2011;11(11):1130. doi: 10.1167/11.11.1130.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Memory for scenes consistently includes expanse that was not actually viewed but that was likely to exist outside the boundaries of the view. This distortion, Boundary Extension (BE), has been ascribed to the activation of mental layout representations during scene perception. The occurrence and the degree of BE could, therefore, provide insight about the visual information that influences scene processing. The current study examined the influence of clutter in real-world scenes on memory for scene expanse. Clutter was conceptualized as the amount of perceptual detail present in a scene. Uncluttered scenes (e.g., sandy beach, open field) can arguably be extended more easily; the layout beyond the boundaries of the view would be more predictable than in more cluttered scenes (e.g. rugged rocky shore, busy city street). However, if the extrapolation that leads to BE is done in order to provide a broader context for understanding and perhaps interacting with the scene, cluttered scenes may require larger extrapolation as they may be more perceptually challenging. Participants viewed 32 pictures of real world scenes; half were relatively cluttered and half were relatively uncluttered. Pictures from the same semantic categories were used in both conditions. Participants studied each pictures (15 s) and then judged how cluttered it was. (Participants' clutter ratings confirmed the a priory categorization of scenes). This presentation was followed by a forced-choice memory test using four distractor pictures depicting from 20% larger to 20% smaller expanses. More BE was obtained for cluttered scenes than for uncluttered ones. Generally, these results demonstrate again the influence of scene layout on BE. More specifically, the results suggest that the amount of information in a scene influences the degree to which viewers need to predict the broader spatial context of the partial view they see.
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