July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
How Unitary is Rapid Scene Gist Processing? An Individual Differences Approach
Author Affiliations
  • Anne Hillstrom
    Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth
  • Davina Patel
    Department of Psychology, University of Portsmouth
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 1046. doi:https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.1046
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      Anne Hillstrom, Davina Patel; How Unitary is Rapid Scene Gist Processing? An Individual Differences Approach. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1046. https://doi.org/10.1167/13.9.1046.

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

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Scene gist processing is influenced by individual differences in speed of perceptual processing [Võ and Schneider, 2010, Visual Cognition, 18(2): 171–200]. In literature on individual differences in intelligence, intelligence is sometimes treated as unitary, roughly synonymous with speed of processing, and other times is decomposed into multiple skills. As both spatial and semantic content are supposed to be influential during scene gist processing, the current study explored whether verbal and nonverbal skill differences would independently affect scene gist processing. Sixty-seven university staff and students participated. Timed, short versions of the Alice Heim test (AH5) assessed non-verbal reasoning (based on comparing geometric shapes) and verbal/numerical reasoning (comparing words or numbers). Judgements of whether or not sentences matched pictures and judgments of the relative spatial location of probe objects were carried out on separate sets of photographs. For half the trials in each task, a 250 ms preview of the picture (without sentences or probe objects) preceded the judged picture. Verbal/numerical and non-verbal skills were highly correlated, so partial correlations were used to measure skill to task relationships. The two preview benefits did not correlate significantly with each other. Non-verbal skill correlated significantly with preview benefit in the spatial task, but not with spatial task performance itself, nor with preview benefit or base performance on the sentence task. Verbal/numerical skill did not correlate significantly with anything. Thus, non-verbal skill affects early processing of scenes; verbal/numerical skill as was measured here does not. Future studies should attempt to find a psychometric test that taps into skill underlying recognition of the semantic nature of a scene.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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