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Leo Yuk Ting Cheung, Sing-Hang Cheung; Chinese-character crowding—I. Effects of structural similarity. Journal of Vision 2017;17(11):14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.11.14.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Crowding impedes the identification of flanked objects in peripheral vision. Prior studies have shown crowding strength decreases with target–flanker similarity. Research on crowding in Chinese-character recognition has been scarce in the literature. We aimed to fill the research gap by examining the effects of structural similarity on Chinese-character crowding. Regularity in within-character configuration, i.e., orthographic legality, of flankers was manipulated in Experiment 1. Target–flanker similarity in orthographic legality did not affect crowding strength, measured as contrast threshold elevation. Crowding weakened only when the strokes in the flankers were scrambled. Contour integrity of flankers was manipulated by randomly perturbing the phase spectra of the stimulus images in Experiments 2a and 2b. Crowding by perturbed-phase flankers remained robust but was weaker compared with intact-phase flankers. Target–flanker similarity in contour integrity modulated crowding strength. Our findings were consistent with the postulation that faulty integration of low-level visual features contributed to crowding of Chinese characters. Studies on Chinese-character recognition and crowding can provide important insights into how the visual system processes complex daily objects.
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