Pinna, Baingio and Werner, John S. (2010) The Role of color in perceptual organization. Journal of vision, Vol. 10 (7), Article 489. eISSN 1534-7362. Article.
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Color is a visual attribute that appears to belong to an object and to its shape. Phenomenally, the perception of an object is often considered identical to the perception of its shape but not to its color, which appears as a secondary attribute. As such it is believed color has relatively little influence in the perception of shape even if it enhances the capacity of an organism to distinguish objects. If color can scarcely influence shape perception, it can be more effective with grouping that is a more simple kind of perceptual organization. Grouping defines what belongs with what and color is one among many possible attributes defining the similarity principle studied by Wertheimer. In other words, color can determine in terms of similarity how elements in the visual field ‘go together’ to form an integrated, holistic percept. Among the many possible kinds of similarities, grouping by color is believed to be less effective compared with other attributes like shape and luminance. The main purposes of this work are to study the role played by color in determining visual grouping, not only in relation to other similarity attributes but also in relation to other principles such as proximity, good continuation and past experience, and the perceptual shape of objects. Psychophysical experiments revealed several new effects and demonstrated that in spite of previous results color can strongly influence both the form of grouping and the form of shape. These results were extended and strengthened by using a reading task that implies a process of segmentation of words and then phenomenal grouping and shape formation.
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