August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Meaning can be Accessed for the Groundside of a Figure
Author Affiliations
  • Laura Cacciamani
    University of Arizona
  • Andrew J. Mojica
    University of Arizona
  • J. L. Sanguinetti
    University of Arizona
  • Mary A. Peterson
    University of Arizona
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 305. doi:
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      Laura Cacciamani, Andrew J. Mojica, J. L. Sanguinetti, Mary A. Peterson; Meaning can be Accessed for the Groundside of a Figure. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):305.

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

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Does a first pass of processing access representations of more objects than will ultimately be perceived, with some later pruned by perceptual organization? Peterson and Skow (2008) showed that, "yes," representations at the shape level are accessed on the first pass of processing and suppressed if later pruned. We investigated whether conceptual knowledge is accessed for potential objects perceived as shapeless grounds. Subjects categorized words as natural or artificial. A novel silhouette preceded each word. Half the silhouettes suggested portions of familiar objects on their perceptually shapeless groundsides (Experimental silhouettes); these objects were either from a different superordinate category (natural vs. artificial) than the upcoming word; from the same superordinate category but a different subcategory (e.g., within natural, plants vs. animals); or the same object named by the upcoming word. The remaining silhouettes were Control silhouettes without a familiar object suggested on the groundside. Participants were slower to categorize words following Experimental than Control silhouettes when the object suggested on the groundside of the Experimental silhouette was from the same superordinate category but a different subcategory than the word (e.g., leaf/"deer;") than when they were from different superordinate categories (e.g., axe/"ant"; p <.05). Thus, conceptual knowledge regarding an object that is not perceived is accessed (e.g., the category plants for leaf) and facilitated, while other subcategories within the same superordinate category (natural objects) are suppressed. Therefore, responses are slowed to words from a different subcategory within the same superordinate category as the suggested object, but words from a different superordinate category are unaffected. No effects were observed when the suggested object and the word were identical; facilitated conceptual knowledge and suppressed shape representations cancelled each other. These results indicate that conceptual knowledge of potentially present but unperceived objects is accessed on a first pass of processing.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012


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