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J Vis. 2007 Nov 20;7(2):23.1-12. doi: 10.1167/7.2.23.

Crowding with conjunctions of simple features.

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Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.


Several recent studies have related crowding with the feature integration stage in visual processing. In order to understand the mechanisms involved in this stage, it is important to use stimuli that have several features to integrate, and these features should be clearly defined and measurable. In this study, Gabor patches were used as target and distractor stimuli. The stimuli differed in three dimensions: spatial frequency, orientation, and color. A group of 3, 5, or 7 objects was presented briefly at 4 deg eccentricity of the visual field. The observers' task was to identify the object located in the center of the group. A strong effect of the number of distractors was observed, consistent with various spatial pooling models. The analysis of incorrect responses revealed that these were a mix of feature errors and mislocalizations of the target object. Feature errors were not purely random, but biased by the features of distractors. We propose a simple feature integration model that predicts most of the observed regularities.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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