Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Grouping Processes Underlie Crowding

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Grouping Processes Underlie Crowding

Article excerpt

VISUAL PROCESSING

Livne & Sagi (2010). How do flankers relations affect crowding? J Vis, 10(3): Art. 1.

Recent years have witnessed a steep rise in the number of studies focusing on crowding, yet the nature of the mechanisms that bring this phenomenon about remains perplexing. Livne and Sagi offer an intriguing explanation of crowding effects: Early processes that group the flankers with the target may produce crowding, which can be reduced when the relations between the items in a display encourage a strong grouping of the flankers with themselves rather than with the target. In a previous study [2007, J Vis 7(2):4], Livne and Sagi demonstrated that when the arrangement of flankers around the target created a continuous, smooth contour that formed a circle, crowding effects were smaller than when the flankers had a pseudorandom arrangement. This finding was termed the configural effect, and it suggests that the spatial configuration of the flankers plays an important role in the circumstances leading to crowding. The current study tested different explanations of the configural effect. The first experiment ruled out the possibility that the effect is mediated by the pair of flankers that elicits the strongest crowding. Livne and Sagi showed that when crowding effects were measured with only pairs of flankers rather than the whole configuration, the pairs that were originally part of the smooth configuration produced more crowding than did those from the pseudorandom configuration. The second experiment employed configurations of varying degrees of local orientation contrast and demonstrated that the magnitude of crowding did not consistently increase with increasing degrees of local orientation contrast. …

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