Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Does Object View Influence the Scene Consistency Effect?

Academic journal article Attention, Perception and Psychophysics

Does Object View Influence the Scene Consistency Effect?

Article excerpt

Published online: 19 December 2014

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Abstract Traditional research on the scene consistency effect only used clearly recognizable object stimuli to show mutually interactive context effects for both the object and background components on scene perception (Davenport & Potter in Psychological Science, 15, 559-564, 2004). However, in real environments, objects are viewed from multiple viewpoints, including an accidental, hard-to-recognize one. When the observers named target objects in scenes (Experiments 1a and 1b, object recognition task), we replicated the scene consistency effect (i.e., there was higher accuracy for the objects with consistent backgrounds). However, there was a significant interaction effect between consistency and object viewpoint, which indicated that the scene consistency effect was more important for identifying objects in the accidental view condition than in the canonical view condition. Therefore, the object recognition system may rely more on the scene context when the object is difficult to recognize. In Experiment 2, the observers identified the background (background recognition task) while the scene consistency and object views weremanipulated. The results showed that object viewpoint had no effect, while the scene consistency effect was observed. More specifically, the canonical and accidental views both equally provided contextual information for scene perception. These findings suggested that the mechanism for conscious recognition of objects could be dissociated fromthe mechanism for visual analysis of object images that were part of a scene. The "context" that the object images provided may have been derived fromits view-invariant, relatively low-level visual features (e.g., color), rather than its semantic information.

Keywords Object recognition . Scene perception . Natural image perception . High-level vision

The visual recognition of an object is strongly influenced by the context in which it appears. Biederman (1972) and Palmer (1975) defined context as the environment surrounding an object that includes background information. Together, the object and background form a so-called "scene." According to studies of context by Biederman (1972), Palmer (1975), and others (Boyce, Pollatsek, & Rayner, 1989; Joubert, Rousselet, Fize, & Fabre-Thorpe, 2007), the consistency of a scene, which they defined as the regularity with which an object appears in a particular background, greatly affects object recognition. Figure 1 shows examples of consistent and inconsistent contextual pairings of objects and backgrounds. Palmer (1975) noticed that identification performance improved when object recognition was primed by presenting a consistent (versus an inconsistent) background beforehand. This finding was later validated by studies that used simultaneous presentations of objects with consistent backgrounds (versus inconsistent ones) (Biederman, Mezzanotte, & Rabinowitz, 1982). This phenomenon is known as the "scene consistency effect."

Recently, Davenport and Potter (2004; see also Davenport, 2007) showed that the context not only provided a scene consistency effect in object recognition, but it also led to a reverse phenomenon where the object provided a facilitating context for the recognition of a consistent background (and other objects). Their conclusion was built upon the use of paradigms involving the usage of colored pictures that were shown to be effective in eliciting scene consistency effects (Oliva & Schyns, 2000). They manipulated the scene consistency of briefly presented and masked stimuli as a primary independent variable, while the percentage of correct recognition responses served as the main dependent variable. The most important feature of this design however was a task variable; the consistency effect was examined in three different tasks: naming the object in a scene, naming the background in a scene, or naming both object and background in a scene. …

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