Attention and competition in figure-ground perception

Mary A Peterson, Elizabeth Salvagio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

What are the roles of attention and competition in determining where objects lie in the visual field, a phenomenon known as figure-ground perception? In this chapter, we review evidence that attention and other high-level factors such as familiarity affect figure-ground perception, and we discuss models that implement these effects. Next, we consider the Biased Competition Model of Attention in which attention is used to resolve the competition for neural representation between two nearby stimuli; in this model the response to the stimulus that loses the competition is suppressed. In the remainder of the chapter we discuss recent behavioral evidence that figure-ground perception entails between-object competition in which the response to the shape of the losing competitor is suppressed. We also describe two experiments testing whether more attention is drawn to resolve greater figure-ground competition, as would be expected if the Biased Competition Model of Attention extends to figure-ground perception. In these experiments we find that responses to targets on the location of a losing strong competitor are slowed, consistent with the idea that the location of the losing competitor is suppressed, but responses to targets on the winning competitor are not speeded, which is inconsistent with the hypothesis that attention is used to resolve figure-ground competition. In closing, we discuss evidence that attention can operate by suppression as well as by facilitation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalProgress in Brain Research
Volume176
DOIs
StatePublished - 2009

Fingerprint

Visual Fields
Recognition (Psychology)

Keywords

  • attention
  • competition
  • familiarity
  • figure-ground perception
  • high-level effects
  • suppression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Cite this

Attention and competition in figure-ground perception. / Peterson, Mary A; Salvagio, Elizabeth.

In: Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 176, 2009, p. 1-13.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1dfa302121534268a0576d647bb7ded8,
title = "Attention and competition in figure-ground perception",
abstract = "What are the roles of attention and competition in determining where objects lie in the visual field, a phenomenon known as figure-ground perception? In this chapter, we review evidence that attention and other high-level factors such as familiarity affect figure-ground perception, and we discuss models that implement these effects. Next, we consider the Biased Competition Model of Attention in which attention is used to resolve the competition for neural representation between two nearby stimuli; in this model the response to the stimulus that loses the competition is suppressed. In the remainder of the chapter we discuss recent behavioral evidence that figure-ground perception entails between-object competition in which the response to the shape of the losing competitor is suppressed. We also describe two experiments testing whether more attention is drawn to resolve greater figure-ground competition, as would be expected if the Biased Competition Model of Attention extends to figure-ground perception. In these experiments we find that responses to targets on the location of a losing strong competitor are slowed, consistent with the idea that the location of the losing competitor is suppressed, but responses to targets on the winning competitor are not speeded, which is inconsistent with the hypothesis that attention is used to resolve figure-ground competition. In closing, we discuss evidence that attention can operate by suppression as well as by facilitation.",
keywords = "attention, competition, familiarity, figure-ground perception, high-level effects, suppression",
author = "Peterson, {Mary A} and Elizabeth Salvagio",
year = "2009",
doi = "10.1016/S0079-6123(09)17601-X",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "176",
pages = "1--13",
journal = "Progress in Brain Research",
issn = "0079-6123",
publisher = "Elsevier",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Attention and competition in figure-ground perception

AU - Peterson, Mary A

AU - Salvagio, Elizabeth

PY - 2009

Y1 - 2009

N2 - What are the roles of attention and competition in determining where objects lie in the visual field, a phenomenon known as figure-ground perception? In this chapter, we review evidence that attention and other high-level factors such as familiarity affect figure-ground perception, and we discuss models that implement these effects. Next, we consider the Biased Competition Model of Attention in which attention is used to resolve the competition for neural representation between two nearby stimuli; in this model the response to the stimulus that loses the competition is suppressed. In the remainder of the chapter we discuss recent behavioral evidence that figure-ground perception entails between-object competition in which the response to the shape of the losing competitor is suppressed. We also describe two experiments testing whether more attention is drawn to resolve greater figure-ground competition, as would be expected if the Biased Competition Model of Attention extends to figure-ground perception. In these experiments we find that responses to targets on the location of a losing strong competitor are slowed, consistent with the idea that the location of the losing competitor is suppressed, but responses to targets on the winning competitor are not speeded, which is inconsistent with the hypothesis that attention is used to resolve figure-ground competition. In closing, we discuss evidence that attention can operate by suppression as well as by facilitation.

AB - What are the roles of attention and competition in determining where objects lie in the visual field, a phenomenon known as figure-ground perception? In this chapter, we review evidence that attention and other high-level factors such as familiarity affect figure-ground perception, and we discuss models that implement these effects. Next, we consider the Biased Competition Model of Attention in which attention is used to resolve the competition for neural representation between two nearby stimuli; in this model the response to the stimulus that loses the competition is suppressed. In the remainder of the chapter we discuss recent behavioral evidence that figure-ground perception entails between-object competition in which the response to the shape of the losing competitor is suppressed. We also describe two experiments testing whether more attention is drawn to resolve greater figure-ground competition, as would be expected if the Biased Competition Model of Attention extends to figure-ground perception. In these experiments we find that responses to targets on the location of a losing strong competitor are slowed, consistent with the idea that the location of the losing competitor is suppressed, but responses to targets on the winning competitor are not speeded, which is inconsistent with the hypothesis that attention is used to resolve figure-ground competition. In closing, we discuss evidence that attention can operate by suppression as well as by facilitation.

KW - attention

KW - competition

KW - familiarity

KW - figure-ground perception

KW - high-level effects

KW - suppression

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=69449087043&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=69449087043&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/S0079-6123(09)17601-X

DO - 10.1016/S0079-6123(09)17601-X

M3 - Article

VL - 176

SP - 1

EP - 13

JO - Progress in Brain Research

JF - Progress in Brain Research

SN - 0079-6123

ER -