Shape Recognition Contributions to Figure-Ground Reversal: Which Route Counts?

Mary A. Peterson, Erin M. Harvey, Hollis J. Weidenbacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Observers viewed upright and inverted versions of figure-ground stimuli, in which Gestalt variables specified that the center was figure. In upright versions, the surround was high in denotivity, in that most viewers agreed it depicted the same shape; in inverted versions, the surround was low in denotivity. The surround was maintained as figure longer and was more likely to be obtained as figure when the stimuli were upright rather than inverted. In four experiments, these effects reflected inputs to figure-ground computations from orientation-specific shape representations only. To account for these findings, a nonratiomorphic mechanism is proposed that enables shape recognition processes before figure-ground relationships are determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1075-1089
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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