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Wei Chen, Olivia S. Cheung; Distinguishing the effects of object-scene association strength and real-world object size in scene priming. Journal of Vision 2019;19(10):58. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/19.10.58.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Scenes are complex visual entities and often contain multiple objects. Since specific objects are often expected to be found in particular scenes (e.g., beach chair-beach), such regularities appear to facilitate object and scene perception. Recent findings suggested that object properties, such as real-world size and portability, may modulate scene processing. Specifically, big objects, compared with small objects, are often less portable and are more likely to be found in a specific scene. However, since real-world object size and object-scene association strength are often confounded, it remains unclear which factor may contribute to the facilitation of scene processing. Here we aimed to distinguish the roles of object-scene association strength and real-world object size on scene perception. In a priming task, we used images of big and small objects that are strongly associated with particular scenes (e.g., cheese slicer-kitchen) as primes, and related or unrelated scene images as targets. Participants judged if a scene target was presented upright or inverted. As the association strength between the objects and related scenes were rated high and comparable across big and small object sets, as confirmed in a pilot study, if the facilitation is due to association strength, the magnitude of scene priming should be comparable across big and small object primes. However, if object size is critical, big objects should evoke stronger scene priming than small objects. In two experiments with long (250ms) vs. short (50ms) presentation durations of the primes, participants (n=26 and n=27 in Experiments 1 and 2) showed significant priming with faster judgments for related than unrelated upright scenes (p’s<.045) and no interaction between real-world size and priming (p’s>.38). These results suggest that although the two factors are often confounded, facilitation of scene perception evoked by objects is unlikely due to object size but depends on the strength of object-scene associations.
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