Graded effects in hierarchical figure-ground organization: reply to Peterson (1999)

J Exp Psychol Hum Percept Perform. 2000 Jun;26(3):1221-31. doi: 10.1037//0096-1523.26.3.1221.


An important issue in vision research concerns the order of visual processing. S. P. Vecera and R. C. O'Reilly (1998) presented an interactive, hierarchical model that placed figure-ground segregation prior to object recognition. M. A. Peterson (1999) critiqued this model, arguing that because it used ambiguous stimulus displays, figure-ground processing did not precede object processing. In the current article, the authors respond to Peterson's (1999) interpretation of ambiguity in the model and her interpretation of what it means for figure-ground processing to come before object recognition. The authors argue that complete stimulus ambiguity is not critical to the model and that figure-ground precedes object recognition architecturally in the model. The arguments are supported with additional simulation results and an experiment, demonstrating that top-down inputs can influence figure-ground organization in displays that contain stimulus cues.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Cues*
  • Humans
  • Visual Perception / physiology*