I have been mainly preparing comps (forming the committee, finalizing the reading list and reading articles) this semester. I am interested in visual crowding, the deterioration of objects identification in cluttered scenes.
A demonstration of the crowding effect . The letter ‘r’ can be recognized when it is presented alone (left), but becomes unrecognizable when it is surrounded by two letters (right)
When reading these comps articles, I am also trying to come up with some research ideas. I put a lot of attention on the ideas of the combination of crowding and other fields, including motion and action, then I found some interesting studies.
In one study by Chen, Sperandio and Goodale (2014), participant were seated in front of a table. On the table, there were some disks, with the central one being the target. Participants were asked to finish two tasks: the perceptual task required participants to report the size of the target disk they perceived by opening their thumb; the visual guided task required them to reach out and grasp the target disk (see Figure below). They found that participants could not consciously perceive the size of the target disk, but even so, they could still scale their grasp to the real size of the disk. In a later study, Chen and colleagues showed the same dissociated effects on perception and visual guided grasping in a shape crowding task. That is, participants could not perceive the shape of the target block, but could scale their grasp to the width of it. Furthermore,
the authors found that when these right-handed participants were asked to the the same task but with their left hand, grasping could not escape the crowding effect, just like the perception.
Chen, J., Jayawardena, S., & Goodale, M. A. (2015). The effects of shape crowding on grasping. Journal of Vision, 15(3).
Chen, J., Sperandio, I., & Goodale, M. A. (2014). Differences in the Effects of Crowding on Size Perception and Grip Scaling in Densely Cluttered 3-D Scenes. Psychological Science, 26(1), 58-69.