Preattentive vision and perceptual groups

Perception. 1990;19(4):515-22. doi: 10.1068/p190515.


Recent evidence suggests that preattentive processing may not be limited to the analysis of simple stimulus features as previously suggested. To explore this idea a visual search task was used to test whether the shapes of several perceptual groups can be processed in parallel. Textured displays that give rise to strong perceptual grouping were used to create figures on a background. Search times for a target figure distinguished by a unique shape were found to be independent of the number of distractor figures in the display. This result indicates that perceptual groups may be processed in parallel and suggests an expanded role for preattentive processing in vision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention*
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Field Dependence-Independence*
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Orientation
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Reaction Time