Illusory Contour Figures Are Perceived as Occluding Contours by 4-Month-Old Infants

Centre for Research in Human Development, Department of Psychology, Lancaster University, Lancaster, United Kingdom.
Developmental Psychology (Impact Factor: 3.21). 08/2011; 48(2):398-405. DOI: 10.1037/a0024922
Source: PubMed


Although 4-month-olds perceive continuity of an object's trajectory through occlusion, little is known about the information specifying an occluding surface at this age. We investigated this in 3 experiments involving 84 participants. Testing the claim that 5-month-olds are unable to perceive the Kanizsa figure as an occluding surface (Csibra, 2001), we demonstrated that 4-month-olds perceived trajectory continuity behind this figure providing its horizontal extent was small. We demonstrated that the presence of visible occluding edges or occlusion of background was insufficient to specify an occluding surface but that their combination was sufficient. Thus, beyond object deletion and accretion, both visible occluding edges and occlusion of background are necessary for perception of occluding surfaces at this age.

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    • "A number of infant studies have used KIC stimuli to investigate the emergence of global form perception . Based on habituation and looking time methods, infants appear to perceive KIC figures, although researchers disagree as to the age at which this global perceptual ability is evident (range: 1–8 months; Bertenthal et al., 1980; Bremner et al., 2012; Bulf et al., 2009; Csibra, 2001; Otsuka et al., 2004; Treiber & Wilcox, 1980). Some researchers question whether the looking-time data actually indicate perception of the illusory shape or simply a novelty preference, a stimulus-related preference , or some other variable (Bulf et al., 2009; Colombo, Mitchell, & Horowitz, 1988; Freeseman et al., 1993; Kavsek & Yonas, 2006; Sato et al., 2013), but other researchers argue that appropriate control conditions explicitly address potential confounding variables in static (Otsuka et al., 2008) and dynamic illusory displays (Curran, Braddick, Atkinson, Wattam-Bell, & Andrew, 1999; Kavsek & Yonas, 2006; Sato et al., 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: Global visual processing is important for segmenting scenes, extracting form from background, and recognizing objects. Local processing involves attention to the local elements, contrast, and boundaries of an image at the expense of extracting a global percept. Previous work is inconclusive regarding the relative development of local and global processing. Some studies suggest that global perception is already present by 8months of age, whereas others suggest that the ability arises during childhood and continues to develop during adolescence. We used a novel method to assess the development of global processing in 3- to 10-year-old children and an adult comparison group. We used Kanizsa illusory contours as an assay of global perception and measured responses on a touch-sensitive screen while monitoring eye position with a head-mounted eye tracker. Participants were tested using a similarity match-to-sample paradigm. Using converging measures, we found a clear developmental progression with age such that the youngest children performed near chance on the illusory contour discrimination, whereas 7- and 8-year-olds performed nearly perfectly, as did adults. There was clear evidence of a gradual shift from a local processing strategy to a global one; young children looked predominantly at and touched the "pacman" inducers of the illusory form, whereas older children and adults looked predominantly at and touched the middle of the form. These data show a prolonged developmental trajectory in appreciation of global form, with a transition from local to global visual processing between 4 and 7years of age. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 12/2014; 131C:38-55. DOI:10.1016/j.jecp.2014.11.001 · 3.12 Impact Factor
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    • "For example, Watanabe and Oyama (1988) found that Kanizsa illusory squares were perceived as stronger (e.g., greater contrast and clarity) when proximity between the four elements was high (see also Shipley and Kellman, 1992; Hadad et al., 2010b). Indeed, 4-month old infants perceive an illusory contour formed by a Kanizsa square as an occluding object only when proximity was high and the square formed a narrow occluder (Bremner et al., 2012). Thus, the greater dependence upon the proximity heuristic for illusory contours is may reflect limitations in the distance projected by the horizontal connections in the visual system. "
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    ABSTRACT: Object perception and pattern vision depend fundamentally upon the extraction of contours from the visual environment. In adulthood, contour or edge-level processing is supported by the Gestalt heuristics of proximity, collinearity, and closure. Less is known, however, about the developmental trajectory of contour detection and contour integration. Within the physiology of the visual system, long-range horizontal connections in V1 and V2 are the likely candidates for implementing these heuristics. While post-mortem anatomical studies of human infants suggest that horizontal interconnections reach maturity by the second year of life, psychophysical research with infants and children suggests a considerably more protracted development. In the present review, data from infancy to adulthood will be discussed in order to track the development of contour detection and integration. The goal of this review is thus to integrate the development of contour detection and integration with research regarding the development of underlying neural circuitry. We conclude that the ontogeny of this system is best characterized as a developmentally extended period of associative acquisition whereby horizontal connectivity becomes functional over longer and longer distances, thus becoming able to effectively integrate over greater spans of visual space.
    Frontiers in Psychology 07/2014; 5. DOI:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00719 · 2.80 Impact Factor
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    • "These automatic completion processes have been extensively studied in adults using psychometrics, electrophysiology , and neuroimaging (e.g., Ffytche and Zeki, 1996; Halko et al., 2008; Mendola et al., 1999; Ohtani et al., 2002; Ringach and Shapley, 1996). Developmental explorations have studied this process in infancy (e.g., Bremner et al., 2012; Csibra, 2001; Otsuka et al., 2004), but the use "

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