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

Greenwood, JA; Parsons, MJ; (2020) Dissociable effects of visual crowding on the perception of color and motion. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , 117 (14) pp. 8196-8202. 10.1073/pnas.1909011117. Green open access

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Abstract

Our ability to recognize objects in peripheral vision is fundamentally limited by crowding, the deleterious effect of clutter that disrupts the recognition of features ranging from orientation and color to motion and depth. Previous 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 color, two features that allow a strong test of feature independence. “Cowhide” stimuli were presented 15° in peripheral vision, either in isolation or surrounded by flankers to give crowding. Observers reported either the target direction (clockwise/counterclockwise from upward) or its hue (blue/purple). We first established that both features show systematic crowded errors (biased predominantly toward 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. Here, 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 color and strong for motion, errors were reduced for color but remained for motion, and vice versa with weak motion and strong color 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. Thus, the ability to recognize one aspect of a cluttered scene, like color, offers no guarantees for the correct recognition of other aspects, like motion.

Type: Article
Title: Dissociable effects of visual crowding on the perception of color and motion
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1909011117
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1909011117
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: color, crowding, motion, perception, peripheral vision
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
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/10094866
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