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Michael Slugocki, Daphne Maurer, Mary A. Peterson, Terri L. Lewis; Convexity as a Cue to Figure-Ground Segmentation in Children. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):718. doi: 10.1167/13.9.718.
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Adults are more likely to perceive as figures regions that are bound by convex rather than concave contours, a likelihood that increases with the number of regions displayed, revealing an effect of context (Peterson & Salvagio, 2008). To test the development of this convexity bias and the effect of context, we examined the strength of convexity as a figural cue in 5-year-olds and adults (n=24/age). Participants were shown computer displays composed of alternating convex and concave regions that differed in luminance (black or white). Displays consisted of two or eight regions. The task on each trial was to identify the colour of the figure. Both 5-year-olds and adults identified the convex regions more often as a figure for displays containing eight alternating regions than for displays containing only two regions (p <.01), suggesting an effect of context. No difference was observed between age groups (p > .10). To further explore the development of these effects throughout early childhood and to verify that our previous results were reliable, we conducted a follow-up study examining the strength of convexity in 3-year-olds, 5-year-olds, and adults (n=12/age). Instead of a computer monitor, stimuli were presented on laminated cards to make the task more appropriate for the 3-year-olds. Displays comprised four or eight regions. All age groups identified the convex regions as a figure more often for displays containing eight regions (90%) compared to displays containing only four regions (81%, p <.01). There was no significant difference in the proportion of trials on which the convex regions were identified as the figure across the three ages (p > .10). Under the current testing conditions, the strength of convexity as a figural cue when performing figure-ground judgments and the effect of context on these judgments appear to be adult-like by 3 years of age.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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