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Bilge Sayim, Johan Wagemans; Appearance changes and error characteristics in crowding revealed by drawings. Journal of Vision 2017;17(11):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.11.8.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Peripheral vision is strongly limited by crowding: Targets that are easily recognized in isolation are unrecognizable when flanked by close-by objects. Crowding does not only impair target recognition but also changes appearance. Here we investigated appearance changes and errors in crowding by letting observers draw crowded stimuli. Observers drew stimuli presented at 6° and 12° eccentricity. Stimuli consisted of characters and letter-like symbols. Targets were presented with either a flanker on each side or in isolation. To characterize appearance changes and errors in crowding, we developed a scoring system that captured differences between the drawings and the stimuli. The resulting drawings revealed strong appearance changes under crowding. Importantly, our results reveal crowding errors that are usually not shown in standard crowding paradigms. We found high rates of element Omissions and element Truncations, indicating a central role of target "diminishment" in crowding. Furthermore, we show that a subset of the observed element Omissions and Additions was possibly caused by feature migration. Relatively high rates of position errors, in particular element Translations, reflected the often reported location uncertainty in crowding. Virtually no complete target-flanker substitutions were observed. We suggest a new classification system for errors in crowding, and propose drawing as a useful appearance-based method to investigate crowding.
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