Pins D, Jebara N, Boucart M, 2004, "Object preference in peripheral vision" Perception 33 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Object preference in peripheral vision
D Pins, N Jebara, M Boucart
The functions of peripheral vision for object perception remain largely unknown. Recent studies with fMRI (eg Levy et al, 2001 Nature Neuroscience 4 533 - 539) suggest that natural viewing of objects influences cerebral organisation. Faces that we usually explore in central vision activate visual areas corresponding to the central visual field, whilst buildings that we usually see in peripheral vision activate visual areas corresponding to the peripheral visual field. Following this assumption, we assessed, in a behavioural experiment, whether natural viewing is driving perceptual abilities on objects in peripheral vision and if this influence depends on task requirements. Faces and buildings were displayed at eccentricities varying from 6° to 60°, in two different tasks: detection and categorisation (known versus unknown). Performance was better for buildings than for faces in the categorisation task in peripheral vision, supporting therefore Levy's assumption. However, performance was better for faces than for buildings in the detection task in peripheral vision, suggesting an influence of stimulus physical characteristics and structural properties of peripheral visual system. These results suggest that, either by physical stimulus characteristics or natural viewing, depending on the task demand, an object preference in peripheral vision is induced.
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