August 2016
Volume 16, Issue 12
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2016
Semantic Priming Facilitates Figure Assignment For Both Intact Familiar Objects And Their Parts (Despite Predictive Coding Error)
Author Affiliations
  • Kimberley Orsten-Hooge
    Department of Psychology, University of Arizona
  • Rachel Skocypec
    Department of Psychology, University of Arizona
  • Mary Peterson
    Department of Psychology, University of Arizona
Journal of Vision September 2016, Vol.16, 798. doi:
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      Kimberley Orsten-Hooge, Rachel Skocypec, Mary Peterson; Semantic Priming Facilitates Figure Assignment For Both Intact Familiar Objects And Their Parts (Despite Predictive Coding Error) . Journal of Vision 2016;16(12):798.

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

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Cacciamani, et al. (2014) demonstrated that representations of intact familiar objects can be accessed by their parts, even when those parts are arranged in novel configurations. This follows fMRI research by Peterson et al (2012) who found that even when arranged in novel configurations the familiarity of a collection of parts is represented at high levels in the visual system associated with semantic representations. Here, we investigate whether activating semantic representations for a familiar object facilitates the perception of critical regions depicting that object and/or its parts as figure in a figure-ground task. We used bipartite displays wherein two equal-area regions share a central border. In each display one "critical" region depicted either an intact familiar object or a novel object created by rearranging inverted parts of a familiar object. To prime semantics, we preceded the displays with brief exposures of words that were either semantically related or unrelated to the familiar objects depicted in the displays. Results indicate that subjects were more likely to see critical regions as figure when they depicted intact familiar objects (p = .006), and when they were primed with a related word (p = .009). However, there were no differences in the priming effect for intact versus part-rearranged objects despite our attempt to disrupt part familiarity by inversion. This suggests that semantic priming enhanced the familiarity of inverted parts. The data also suggest that an attempt may have been made to fit models of objects named by the primes to the displays, which would necessarily result in predictive coding errors because the primes never named the familiar objects present in the displays. Semantic priming effects were observed against this background of predictive coding error, which lowered overall reports of critical regions as figures.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2016


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