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Dissociable effects of visual crowding on the perception of colour and motion

Greenwood, JA; Parsons, MJ; (2020) Dissociable effects of visual crowding on the perception of colour and motion. BioRxiv: Cold Spring Harbor, NY, USA. Green open access

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Abstract

Our ability to recognise objects in peripheral vision is fundamentally limited by crowding, the deleterious effect of clutter that disrupts the recognition of features ranging from orientation and colour to motion and depth. Prior research is equivocal on whether this reflects a singular process that disrupts all features simultaneously or multiple processes that affect each independently. We examined crowding for motion and colour, two features that allow a strong test of feature independence. ‘Cowhide’ stimuli were presented 15 degrees in peripheral vision, either in isolation or surrounded by flankers to give crowding. Observers reported either the target direction (clockwise/counterclockwise from upwards) or its hue (blue/purple). We first established that both features show systematic crowded errors (predominantly biased towards the flanker identities) and selectivity for target-flanker similarity (with reduced crowding for dissimilar target/flanker elements). The multiplicity of crowding was then tested with observers identifying both features: a singular object-selective mechanism predicts that when crowding is weak for one feature and strong for the other that crowding should be all-or-none for both. In contrast, when crowding was weak for colour and strong for motion, errors were reduced for colour but remained for motion, and vice versa with weak motion and strong colour crowding. This double dissociation reveals that crowding disrupts certain combinations of visual features in a feature-specific manner, ruling out a singular object-selective mechanism. The ability to recognise one aspect of a cluttered scene, like colour, thus offers no guarantees for the correct recognition of other aspects, like motion.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Dissociable effects of visual crowding on the perception of colour and motion
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1101/639450
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1101/639450
Language: English
Additional information: The copyright holder for this preprint is the author/funder, who has granted bioRxiv a license to display the preprint in perpetuity. It is made available under a CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 International license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10076733
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