Developmental trends in interpolation and its spatial constraints: A comparison of subjective and occluded contours
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We examined interpolation in 6- and 9-year-old children and in adults, in the two most common forms of fragmentation: subjective and partially occluded contours. Experiment 1 examined the effects on adults' interpolation of contour geometry, specifically, the effect of a scale-dependent factor (i.e., retinal size) and a scale-independent factor (i.e., support ratio). For both subjective and partially occluded contours, interpolation was affected more by support ratio than absolute size. However, subjective contours were less precisely interpolated and their interpolation was affected more by support ratio than was the case for partial occlusion. Experiment 2 used a subset of retinal size and support ratio levels in children and adults. Interpolation of both subjective and occluded contours improved significantly with age, with the two types of contours equally affected by spatial constraints during early childhood. However, while interpolation of occluded contours became more precise with age and less dependent on support ratio by adulthood, interpolation of subjective contours was less improved and became even more tied to support ratio in adulthood. The implications of these differential age-related changes in the spatial constraints on interpolation of the two types of contours for the mechanisms of perceptual completion are discussed.