SourcePerception and Psychophysics, 62, 1, (2000), pp. 162-174
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC CO
Perception and Psychophysics
Concave cusps and negative curvature minima play an important role in many theories of visual shape perception. Cusps and minima are taken to be part boundaries, used to segment an object into parts. Because of their important role in determining object structure and because there is some evidence that object structure is processed in parallel, it might be expected that concave cusps and negative curvature minima are processed preferentially. We tested this conjecture in several visual search experiments. Visual search for a target with a concave cusp amongst totally convex distractors yields nearly flat slopes (<10 msec/item) for both present and absent trials. Reversing the roles of target and distractor results in inefficient search. The same asymmetry is found when the concave cusp is replaced by other types of concavity. We conclude therefore that concavities can serve as basic features in visual search experiments. This conclusion implies that the unit of selection in a visual search task is an object instead of a location.
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- Faculty of Social Sciences 
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