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Anna Shafer-Skelton, Timothy F. Brady; Scene layout priming relies primarily on low-level features rather than scene layout. Journal of Vision 2019;19(1):14. doi: 10.1167/19.1.14.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
The ability to perceive and remember the spatial layout of a scene is critical to understanding the visual world, both for navigation and for other complex tasks that depend upon the structure of the current environment. However, surprisingly little work has investigated how and when scene layout information is maintained in memory. One prominent line of work investigating this issue is a scene-priming paradigm (e.g., Sanocki & Epstein, 1997), in which different types of previews are presented to participants shortly before they judge which of two regions of a scene is closer in depth to the viewer. Experiments using this paradigm have been widely cited as evidence that scene layout information is stored across brief delays and have been used to investigate the structure of the representations underlying memory for scene layout. In the present experiments, we better characterize these scene-priming effects. We find that a large amount of visual detail rather than the presence of depth information is necessary for the priming effect; that participants show a preview benefit for a judgment completely unrelated to the scene itself; and that preview benefits are susceptible to masking and quickly decay. Together, these results suggest that “scene priming” effects do not isolate scene layout information in memory, and that they may arise from low-level visual information held in sensory memory. This broadens the range of interpretations of scene priming effects and suggests that other paradigms may need to be developed to selectively investigate how we represent scene layout information in memory.
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