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J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 1983 Jul;9(3):411-29.

Scene perception: a failure to find a benefit from prior expectancy or familiarity.

Abstract

In our everyday world, we typically have an expectancy as to the kinds of scenes that we will see from one glance to the next. Also, many of the scenes that we do see are familiar in the sense that they have been experienced before. Do these factors influence the perception of a scene? In three experiments, priming subjects with a verbal descriptor of a scene was not found to improve reliably the perception of that scene as assessed by the speed and accuracy of detecting an incongruity between an object and its setting (Experiments 1 and 2) or a specified target object (Experiment 3). Also, in attempting to perceive these scenes, subjects could not capitalize on the residue from prior exposures of a scene's background, even though those backgrounds had been processed to the point where semantic information had been extracted from them. Although these results are inconsistent with recent speculations on the role of frames in scene perception, recent experiments on the perception of a scene from a single fixation, and film-editing practice with "flash cuts." The implications of these results are that the mechanisms for perceiving and interpreting nondegraded real-world scenes are so quick and efficient that conditions can readily be found in which priming and prior exposures of substantial portions of scenes are not helpful for perceiving and judging certain aspects of those scenes.

PMID:
6225831
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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