Visual perception of shape and area in random dot patterns
Jewell, Stephen W.
Pomerantz, James R.
Doctor of Philosophy
I report five experiments in an exploratory study to investigate the perceptual grouping processes by better understanding how a simple pattern of dots comes to be represented in visual memory. Subjects were briefly shown a random set of point-like dots which were then masked and subsequently reappeared with a possible added or deleted dot. Subjects detected changes to peripheral dots more reliably than changes to interior dots, even those much closer to fixation. The most peripheral points appear to be objectized in a process that might be analogized as shrink wrapping. The circumscribed shape was memorable and easily recalled despite brief presentations. These data suggest a preattentive perceptual process beginning in the periphery and proceeding inward toward fixation as the visual system records the shape of the pattern.
Experimental psychology; Cognitive psychology