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Figure Ground Segmentation Essay

2231 words - 9 pages

Figure-Ground Segmentation
Several studies have examined that in figure-ground segmentation processes, attention to certain regions tends to cause those regions to be perceived as closer to the observer (Huang & Pashler, 2009). In this experiment we propose that the attention effect can be reversed and that the visual system will choose the interpretation according to the simplicity of the attended regions. The visual system has the ability to detect three-dimensional structures in the absence of mapping between properties. The stimuli will be presented with a variety of photographs on a color monitor. The second factor in this experiment will state that directing attention can also influence the choice of one structure over another in potentially ambiguous cases (Koffka, 1935 and Rubin, 1915 as cited by Huang & Pashler, 2009). Previous studies indicate that attention alters perception. This study will demonstrate that the simplicity of the presented visual stimuli will direct attention; in other words, the participants will choose the simplest visual information as their visual focus.
The main support for the hypothesis of the study conducted by Huang and Pashler (Huang & Pashler, 2009) indicated that the participants reported the attended region as the forefront 89 percent of the time. In addition, the participants reported the simplest visual stimuli as the foreground object. Lastly, when removing visual clues with abstract-colored clues, the participants’ attentions reverted back to the attended region.
In a previous study coordinated by Kimchi and Peterson (Kimchi & Peterson, 2008), it was demonstrated that figure-ground segmentation could occur without attention. The design involved two displays, each presenting a small matrix comprised of black and white squares. Participants were assigned the task of judging whether the matrices in two displays were the same or different, while the background pattern either remained the same or changed. Final results from this experiment indicated that the organization of the backgrounds produced congruency effects on the performance of the task.
In a similar study regarding foreground-background segmentation, Mazz, Turatto, and Ulmilta (2005) argued “all other conditions being equal, objects lying in the front plane (i.e. foreground) may result in being more salient that those lying in the background—this is turn, should lead to an attention preference for the foreground items rather than the background items.” If everything else remains constant, attention will default to the object positioned in the foreground because the foreground objects are more salient.
Using subjects over a series of trials in which dots were presented and arranged in a circle over a background of alternating color squares, it was determined the results showed an attention preference for the foreground elements in a visual scene. Furthermore, given that focused attention is required to perceive changes, the findings...

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