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Front Psychol. 2012 Apr 27;3:119. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2012.00119. eCollection 2012.

The fate of visible features of invisible elements.

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Laboratory of Psychophysics, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) Lausanne, Switzerland.


To investigate the integration of features, we have developed a paradigm in which an element is rendered invisible by visual masking. Still, the features of the element are visible as part of other display elements presented at different locations and times (sequential metacontrast). In this sense, we can "transport" features non-retinotopically across space and time. The features of the invisible element integrate with features of other elements if and only if the elements belong to the same spatio-temporal group. The mechanisms of this kind of feature integration seem to be quite different from classical mechanisms proposed for feature binding. We propose that feature processing, binding, and integration occur concurrently during processes that group elements into wholes.


feature binding; feature inheritance; feature integration; feature processing; sequential metacontrast paradigm

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