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Colin Flowers, Mary Peterson; Past Experience Within an Experiment Does Not Influence Figural Assignment. Journal of Vision 2017;17(10):1385. doi: 10.1167/17.10.1385.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Object detection is an important component of scene perception. Figure assignment can assay of object detection. A figural prior is familiar configuration, based on experience outside the laboratory; this experience was probably with the familiar configuration (and therefore its parts) in its typical orientation. We investigated whether exposure to displays sharing familiar parts and/or familiar configuration over an orientation change influences subsequent figure assignment within an experiment. Participants viewed bipartite displays (black/white) that were ambiguous regarding which side (left/right) was the figure except that one side – the critical region – was either a familiar configuration (Fam) or derived from one. The derivations were: Inverted Fam (Inv), Part-Rearranged Configuration (PR), or Inverted Part-Rearranged Configuration (invPR). At the configural level both PR and invPR critical regions were novel. All regions complementary to the critical regions were novel. Critical region contrast (black/white) and location (left/right) were balanced. Stimuli (n = 38) were presented in four blocks. Within blocks all four configurations were presented – but a given stimulus appeared in only one configuration. Across blocks, each stimulus appeared in all four configurations. The order of configurations between blocks was counterbalanced. Hence, we examined whether prior experience with parts and/or configurations influences subsequent figural assignment. Without previous exposure in the experiment (block 1), critical regions were figures more often in Fam (75.6%) than in Inv (68.1%), and in both more often than in PR (56.3%) and invPR (56.0%) (p's < 0.01), replicating previous effects. Reports of critical region as figure increased over block (p < 0.01) regardless of configuration. Configuration and block did not interact (p > 0.1), suggesting no effect of experience within the experiment. At least with controlled display presentation conditions (> 18 exposures between appearances of a given stimulus in different configurations), effects of past experience with an experiment do not emerge.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2017
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