September 2015
Volume 15, Issue 12
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2015
Figure Ground and Perception: Gelb and Granit Revisited
Author Affiliations
  • Rolf Nelson
    Psychology Department, Wheaton College (MA)
  • NIcholas Hebda
    Psychology Department, Wheaton College (MA)
Journal of Vision September 2015, Vol.15, 328. doi:
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      Rolf Nelson, NIcholas Hebda; Figure Ground and Perception: Gelb and Granit Revisited. Journal of Vision 2015;15(12):328.

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

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The relation between figure ground organization and attention is a complicated one. Some findings (Nelson & Palmer, 2008; Wong & Weisstein, 1982) have indicated an advantage for the figural region. However, in a much earlier work, Gelb & Granit (1923) presented evidence that targets in the ground region were more perceptually distinguishable than targets in the figure region, a claim that would seem to be contrary. In the present research, we re-examine Gelb & Granit’s work, and claim that these effects are due to a lower-level effect, that of masking due to proximity to surrounding contours. In a series of experiments using stimuli constructed from the original studies, using a 2AFC detection procedure, we find that targets are more detectible in the ground region only when the figure is surrounded by fully articulated contours.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2015


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