Stimulus Integrity Modulates the Effect of Context on Object Recognition
Leslie Y. Lai1, William C. Heindel1, Elena K. Festa1; 1Brown University
In naturalistic settings, visual objects never occur in isolation of their scene context. Past research has shown that the visual system can leverage contextual associations during normal object recognition (Oliva & Torralba, 2007). Here, we examined the joint effects of stimulus integrity and contextual color association on rapid object recognition. This experiment used a two-alternative forced-choice saccadic task in which participants were shown a target word followed by two simultaneous images on either side of fixation. They were asked to make saccades as quickly as possible toward the image containing the target object. Objects were shown as either intact or distorted (warped), and were presented on a color background defining either neutral or meaningful contextual associations. Participants were more accurate at recognizing intact than distorted objects overall, and a significant stimulus integrity by contextual association interaction was observed for saccade latency. Saccade latencies were shorter for the intact than distorted objects when presented on a neutral background, but not when presented on a meaningful background. For intact objects, saccade latencies were longer when objects were presented on a meaningful background than on a neutral background, whereas for distorted objects, no significant effect of contextual association on saccade latency was observed. An ex-Gaussian analysis indicated that this interaction was being driven by the slower exponential component (tau) of the saccade latency distribution. Results suggest that the top-down influence of contextual color association during object recognition is mutually dependent on the integrity of bottom-up stimulus information.
Topic Area: PERCEPTION & ACTION: Vision