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Perception. 1996;25(3):343-52.

Spatial context in recognition.

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Department of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


In recognizing objects and scenes, partial recognition of objects or their parts can be used to guide the recognition of other objects. Here, the role of individual objects in the recognition of complete figures and the influence of contextual information on the identification of ambiguous objects were investigated. Configurations of objects that were placed in either proper or improper spatial relations were used, and response times and error rates in a recognition task were measured. Two main results were obtained. First, proper spatial relations among the objects of a scene decrease response times and error rates in the recognition of individual objects. Second, the presence of objects that have a unique interpretation improves the identification of ambiguous objects in the scene. Ambiguous objects were recognized faster and with fewer errors in the presence of clearly recognized objects compared with the same objects in isolation or in improper spatial relations. The implications of these findings for the organization of recognition memory are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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