August 2014
Volume 14, Issue 10
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2014
Statistical regularities shape object perception
Author Affiliations
  • Sumeyye Cakal
    Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia
  • Jiaying Zhao
    Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia
Journal of Vision August 2014, Vol.14, 396. doi:
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      Sumeyye Cakal, Jiaying Zhao; Statistical regularities shape object perception. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):396.

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

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The environment contains widespread regularities in terms of how objects co-occur in space and over time. How regularities alter the perception of individual objects is largely unexplored. In Experiment 1, we examined how learning spatial co-occurrences of individual objects alters the perception of the spatial location of these objects. Observers were exposed to arrays of colored circles. In the 'structured' condition, each array contained four color pairs which were arranged in fixed spatial configurations (e.g., red always appears to the left of blue). In the 'random' condition, the same configuration was maintained, but now one circle in the pair was shuffled, while the other circle remained in the same position (e.g., red appears to the left of blue, brown, or purple). After exposure, one circle was briefly presented on the screen and observers indicated the location of the circle. We found that the location of the circle was perceived to be closer to the location of its partner in the pair in the structured condition than in the random condition. To generalize this finding, in Experiment 2, we examined how regularities in line orientations alter the perception of these orientations. Observers were exposed to a sequence of lines. In the structured condition, the sequence consisted of three pairs of orientations, and in the random condition, the orientations were presented in a random order. We found that the orientation of the line was perceived to be more similar to the orientation of its partner in the pair in the structured condition than in the random condition. These results demonstrate that the representation of a stimulus is biased toward to that of another if the stimuli reliably co-occur. This suggests that incidental learning of object co-occurrences can shape the perception of individual objects, revealing fundamental ways in which learning can guide perception.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014


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