Effects of aging on figure-ground perception: Convexity context effects and competition resolution

Jordan W. Lass, Patrick J. Bennett, Mary A. Peterson, Allison B. Sekuler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We examined age-related differences in figure-ground perception by exploring the effect of age on Convexity Context Effects (CCE; Peterson & Salvagio, 2008). Experiment 1, using Peterson and Salvagio's procedure and black and white stimuli consisting of 2 to 8 alternating concave and convex regions, established that older adults exhibited reduced CCEs compared to younger adults. Experiments 2 and 3 demonstrated that this age difference was found at various stimulus durations and sizes. Experiment 4 compared CCEs obtained with achromatic stimuli, in which the alternating convex and concave regions were each all black or all white, and chromatic stimuli in which the concave regions were homogeneous in color but the convex regions varied in color. We found that the difference between CCEs measured with achromatic and colored stimuli was larger in older than in younger adults. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that the senescent visual system is less able to resolve the competition among various perceptual interpretations of the figure-ground relations among stimulus regions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number15
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2017


  • Aging
  • Figure-ground
  • Perceptual competition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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