Illusory ‘Misty’ Contours

– Russell D. Hamer and Christopher W. Tyler “Illusory ‘Misty’ Contours”.
Florida Atlantic University, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, and City University of London
USA and UK

Author description: The primary ‘goal’ of vision is to efficiently identify objects in a scene and organize them into a perceptual 3D space. In real-world scenes, objects occlude other objects in a figure/ground hierarchy, and the visual brain must perceptually complete occluded features. The mechanisms underlying figure-ground segregation and object-completion employ filling-in, leading to some spectacular effects (e.g., illusory contours, Kanizsa triangle). Our illusion is a surprising elaboration: low-contrast, pseudo-random ‘clouds’ are completed across a gap while preserving complex perceptual properties. The visual brain operates on perceptual ‘units’, not just lines and boundaries, extending them as needed to complete the 3D scene.

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