Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Crowding-The Dark Side of Statistics?

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Crowding-The Dark Side of Statistics?

Article excerpt

VISUAL PROCESSING

Balas et al. (2009). A summary-statistic representation in peripheral vision explains visual crowding. J Vis, 9(12): Art. 13. doi:10.1167/ 9.12.13

The identification of a peripheral stimulus surrounded by flankers is often harder than the identification of an identical isolated stimulus. This phenomenon is termed crowding, and it depends mainly on the stimulus eccentricity and the distance between the stimulus and flankers. Despite a growing interest in this phenomenon, there is still no agreement on the processes that underlie it. One of the more prominent explanations suggests that crowding is the outcome of faulty information "pooling" over a relatively large area. When the target stimulus and the flankers fall within this area, the mandatory pooling of signals results in an erroneous integration of features belonging to the target and its flankers. According to this view, the deteriorated ability to identify a target when it is flanked by other stimuli is due to this erroneous mixing of information.

In line with this approach, Balas et al. suggest that the visual system extracts summary statistics from the visual input over a pooling region that grows with eccentricity, and this leads to crowding at peripheral regions, where the pooling region is too large. …

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