Does Perceptual Belongingness Affect Lightness Constancy?

Alessandro Soranzo, Tiziano Agostini

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The relation between perceptual belongingness and lightness perception has historically been studied in the contrast domain (Benary, 1924 Psychologische Forschung 5 131 ^ 142). However, scientists have shown that two equal grey patches may differ in lightness when belonging to different reflecting surfaces. We extend this investigation to the constancy domain. In a CRT simulation of a bipartite field of illumination, we manipulated the arrangement of twelve patches:
six squares and six diamonds. Patches of the same shape could be placed: (i) all within the same illumination field; or (ii) forming a row across the illumination fields. Furthermore, we manipulated proximity between the innermost patches and the illumination edge. The patches could be (i) touching (forming an X-junction); or (ii) not touching (not forming an X-junction). Observers were asked to perform a lightness match between two additional patches, one illuminated and the other in shadow. We found better lightness constancy when the patches of the same shape formed a row across the fields, with no effect of X-junctions. Since lightness constancy is improved by strengthening the belongingness across the illumination fields, we conclude that belongingness might help the visual system to aggregate the differently illuminated surfaces, and facilitate the scission process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)185-192
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2006

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