Amodal completion in visual search: Preemption or context effects?

Robert Rauschenberger, Mary A. Peterson, Fauzia Mosca, Nicola Bruno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


In a previous study, search for a notched-disk target abutting a square among complete-disk nontargets and squares was inefficient in 250-ms exposures, but relatively efficient in 100-ms exposures. This finding was interpreted as evidence that amodal completion proceeds through a mosaic and then a completion stage, with the latter preempting the former. We used the same target but changed its context: Nontargets were instead notched disks near squares. Task set was also different: Participants searched for a complete disk. Contrary to the prediction of the preemption model, search was efficient in the 100-ms condition and inefficient in the 250-ms condition. We propose that in both the present and the previous studies, the target was ambiguous, and task set and context affected how it was perceived. In both experiments, set effects were evident for 100-ms exposures; context effects were evident for 250-ms exposures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-355
Number of pages5
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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