Perceptual grouping and visual enumeration

Veronica Mazza, Alfonso Caramazza
PloS One 2012, 7 (11): e50862
We used lateralized Event-Related Potential (ERP) measures - the N2pc and CDA/SPCN components - to assess the role of grouping by target similarity during enumeration. Participants saw a variable number (0, 1, 2 or 3) of same- or differently-colored targets presented among homogeneous distracters, and performed an enumeration task. Results showed that the N2pc, but not the CDA, was larger for multiple targets of identical color relative to targets of different colors. The findings are interpreted in terms of the effects of grouping on early versus late stages of multiple object processing. Within this framework, they reveal that grouping has an effect on early individuation mechanisms, while later processing mechanisms are less prone to such an influence.

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