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Title:The scene superiority effect: object recognition in the context of natural scenes
Author(s):Yao, Richard
Advisor(s):Simons, Daniel J.
Department / Program:Psychology
Discipline:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:M.A.
Genre:Thesis
Subject(s):object recognition
scene perception
semantic priming
word superiority effect
Abstract:Four experiments investigate the effect of background scene semantics on object recognition. Although past research has found that semantically consistent scene backgrounds can facilitate recognition of a target object, these claims have been challenged as the result of post-perceptual response bias rather than the perceptual processes of object recognition itself. The current study takes advantage of a paradigm from linguistic processing known as the Word Superiority Effect. Humans can better discriminate letters (e.g., D vs. K) in the context of a word (WORD vs. WORK) than in a non-word context (e.g., WROD vs. WROK) even when the context is non-predictive of the target identity. We apply this paradigm to objects in natural scenes, having subjects discriminate between objects in the context of scenes. Because the target objects were equally semantically consistent with any given scene and could appear in either semantically consistent or inconsistent contexts with equal probability, response bias could not lead to an apparent improvement in object recognition. The current study found a benefit to object recognition from semantically consistent backgrounds, and the effect appeared to be modulated by awareness of background scene semantics.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/24168
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Richard Yao
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05


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