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Huanjun Xi, Ruijie Wu, Bo Wang, Lin Chen; Topological difference between target and flankers alleviates crowding effect. Journal of Vision 2020;20(9):9. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.20.9.9.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
In the crowding effect, object recognition in the periphery deteriorates when other items flank the target, especially if they share similarities. Here, we report that the similarity defined by topological property (differences in number of holes) influences the crowding effect. Orientation discrimination tasks suggested that the crowding effect was weaker with a topological different (TD) flanker than a topological equivalent (TE) flanker and an existing inward-outward anisotropy phenomenon. In another experiment, both an outer and an inner flanker were used to constitute four different conditions. The performance of an outer TD flanker and an inner TE flanker was superior to that of an outer TE flanker and an inner TD flanker, even though the items of the stimuli were the same. Different stimuli were used to control for local features. To eliminate the possible explanation of confusability, we selected pairs of letters with matched confusability, but one pair was TD and another was TE. The letter identification performance was better for the TD condition. Lastly, we investigated the digit identification under four conditions with varied spacing. Regardless of different spacing, the crowding effect was reduced by a topological different flanker. The results collectively suggest that topological property plays a role in the perceptual grouping, which modulates the crowding effect.
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