Exploration of vertical bias in perceptual completion of illusory contours: Threshold measures and response classification
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We investigated whether the perceptual completion of illusory contours exhibits a vertical bias (J. Pillow & N. Rubin, 2002). Experiments 1-3 measured completion with Pillow and Rubin's shape discrimination procedure, while including novel control conditions to determine if the results were related to perceptual completion per se. These experiments found no evidence for perceptual completion with stimuli used by Pillow and Rubin but did find completion with smaller stimuli that had larger support ratios. However, even when perceptual completion occurred, there was no evidence for a vertical bias in perceptual completion. Experiments 4-5 used the response classification method (B. L. Beard & A. Ahumada, 1998) to determine which local areas were related to illusory contour discrimination in central and peripheral vision. For central stimuli, there was a slight bias favoring completion of vertical contours, although the extent of the bias varied across participants. There was no vertical bias for peripheral stimuli. Overall, although subject to several important caveats, the results obtained with classification images (but not threshold measures) were consistent with the Pillow and Rubin's idea that perceptual completion is more difficult when it requires integrating visual features that are on different sides of the vertical meridian.
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