July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
Birds of a Feather Flock Together...for Novices
Author Affiliations
  • Cindy M. Bukach
    Department of Psychology, University of Richmond
  • Tracey A. Sohner
    Department of Psychology, California State University, Fullerton
  • Alan C. N. Wong
    Department of Psychology, Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • Jessie J. Peissig
    Department of Psychology, California State University, Fullerton
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 664. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.664
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      Cindy M. Bukach, Tracey A. Sohner, Alan C. N. Wong, Jessie J. Peissig; Birds of a Feather Flock Together...for Novices. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):664. https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.664.

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

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Perceptual expertise is the ability to generalize skilled perception to novel exemplars within a category. However, what counts as a "category" may be differently for experts than for novices. For example, in a study of real-world car experts (Bukach et al., 2010) neither expert visual discrimination nor holistic processing transferred from modern to antique cars. This finding suggests that categories are more narrowly defined for experts. In this study, we tested how well expert visual discrimination of birds from the West Coast USA transferred to birds from East Coast USA and Asia on a sequential matching task modified from Bukach et al. Participants were asked to determine if sequentially presented bird images belonged to the same species. To control for visual discrimination ability, a delta d’ score was calculated for each bird category (d’ birds – d’ cars). We tested 2 experts, 4 age-matched controls, and 19 young novices from the West Coast and 1 expert and 2 age-matched controls from Hong Kong. The West Coast bird experts showed better visual discrimination for West Coast birds than for either East Coast or Asian birds (mean delta d’s = 1.87, 1.26 & 1.24, respectively). In contrast, the Asian bird expert showed the opposite pattern: better performance for Asian and East Coast birds than for West Coast birds (delta d’s = 1.41, 1.51 & .74). There was no difference in visual discrimination across regions for the control groups (all mean delta d’s <.5, ps >.1). These results are consistent with the idea that expert categories have a narrower structure than those of novices.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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