Spatial Organization and the Appearances Thereof in Early Vision

Austen Clark

in Visual Experience

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199597277
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741883 | DOI:
Spatial Organization and the Appearances Thereof in Early Vision

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The perception of the lightness of surfaces has been shown to be affected by information about the spatial configuration of those surfaces and their illuminants. Two regions of equal luminance can appear to be occupied by surfaces of different lightness if one of the two appears to lie in a shadow. How are we to understand the character of the processes that integrate such spatial configuration information so as to yield the eventual appearance of lightness? This chapter analyzes the vocabulary of appearance used in these descriptions, and shows that the endpoint—the “appearance of lightness”—is phenomenal, in a traditional sense. Processes with phenomenal products are distinguished from processes that are: (a) of perceptual grouping; (b) of perceptual organization; and (c) attentional (as opposed to preattentive). These four categories are conceptually and empirically distinct. In particular, the chapter reviews evidence that appearances as of contours, occlusion, and amodally completed shapes can occur preattentively.

Keywords: perceptual grouping; amodal completion; lightness perception; spatial organization

Chapter.  11291 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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