The Role of Edges and Line-Ends in Illusory Contour Formation
Lesher, Gregory W.
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Illusory contours can be induced along direction approximately collinear to edges or approximately perpendicular to the ends of lines. Using a rating scale procedure we explored the relation between the two types of inducers by systematically varying the thickness of inducing elements to result in varying amounts of "edge-like" or "line-like" induction. Inducers for our illusory figures consisted of concentric rings with arcs missing. Observers judged the clarity and brightness of illusory figures as the number of arcs, their thicknesses, and spacings were parametrically varied. Degree of clarity and amount of induced brightness were both found to be inverted-U functions of the number of arcs. These results mandate that any valid model of illusory contour formation must account for interference effects between parallel lines or between those neural units responsible for completion of boundary signals in directions perpendicular to the ends of thin lines. Line width was found to have an efFect on both clarity and brightness, a finding inconsistent with those models which employ only completion perpendicular to inducer orientation.