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Foveal target repetitions reduce crowding

Sayim, B; Greenwood, JA; Cavanagh, P; (2014) Foveal target repetitions reduce crowding. Journal of Vision , 14 (6) , Article 4. 10.1167/14.6.4. Green open access

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Abstract

Crowding is the limitation of peripheral vision by clutter. Objects that are easily identified when presented in isolation are hard to identify when presented flanked by similar close-by objects. It is often assumed that the signal of a crowded target is irretrievably lost because it is combined with the signals of the flankers. Here, we asked whether a target signal can be enhanced (or retrieved) by items presented far outside the crowding region. We investigated whether remote items matching a peripheral, crowded target enhanced discrimination compared to remote items not matching the target. In Experiment 1, we presented the remote item at different locations in the visual field and found that, when presented in the fovea, a matching remote item improved target discrimination compared to a nonmatching remote item. In Experiment 2, we varied stimulus onset asynchronies between target and remote items and found a strong effect when the remote item was presented simultaneously with the target. The effect diminished (or was absent) with increasing temporal separation. In Experiment 3, we asked whether semantic knowledge of a target was sufficient to improve target discrimination and found that this was not the case. We conclude that crowded target signals are not irretrievably lost. Rather, their accurate recognition is facilitated in the presence of remote items that match the target. We suggest that long-range grouping mechanisms underlie this "uncrowding" effect.

Type: Article
Title: Foveal target repetitions reduce crowding
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1167/14.6.4
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1167/14.6.4
Language: English
Additional information: © 2014 ARVO. This is the authors' accepted version of this published article.
Keywords: Crowding, cueing, grouping, long-range interaction, masking, peripheral vision, similarity, uncrowding, unmasking
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/1456068
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