Laboratory of Experimental Psychology

Leuven, Belgium

Laboratory of Experimental Psychology

Leuven, Belgium
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Van de Cruys S.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Van de Cruys S.,Catholic University of Leuven | Van der Hallen R.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Van der Hallen R.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 2 more authors.
Brain and Cognition | Year: 2017

Predictive coding has recently been welcomed as a fruitful framework to understand autism spectrum disorder. Starting from an account centered on deficient differential weighting of prediction errors (based in so-called precision estimation), we illustrate that individuals with autism have particular difficulties with separating signal from noise, across different tasks. Specifically, we discuss how deficient precision-setting is detrimental for learning in unstable environments, for context-dependent assignment of salience to inputs, and for robustness in perception, as illustrated in coherent motion paradigms. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.


De Martino M.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Bracco G.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
Mental Lexicon | Year: 2017

In some languages the grammatical gender of nouns can be probabilistically detected using formal cues; for instance, in Italian, the majority of feminine nouns end in '-a'(e.g., casa, 'home') and the majority of masculine nouns end in '-o' (e.g., albero, 'tree'). It has been hypothesized that the match/mismatch between the formal information of the suffix and the abstract grammatical information on gender affects lexical processing of nouns. An alternative account is that a default option available for gender poses constraints to mechanisms of lexical access for words exhibiting gender markers in the surface form. In the present study, nouns with highly predictive gender suffix (regular), nouns whose gender cannot be recovered from surface form (opaque) and nouns with misleading gender suffix (irregular) were compared in two reading aloud and two lexical decision experiments. Results confirmed that regular nouns are processed better than irregular nouns. No difference was detected between masculine and feminine opaque nouns. The results allow the conclusion that a formal gender feature (the gender orthographic regularity) is more likely to affect lexical processing of bare nouns than the activation of a gender default option.


PubMed | Laboratory of Experimental Psychology and Radboud University Nijmegen
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of vision | Year: 2016

Our visual system faces the challenging task to construct integrated visual representations from the visual input projected on our retinae. Previous research has provided mixed evidence as to whether visual awareness of the stimulus parts is required for such integration to occur. Here, we address this issue by taking a novel approach in which we combine a monocular rivalry stimulus (i.e., a bistable rotating cylinder) with binocular rivalry. The results of Experiment 1 show that in a rivalry condition, where one half of the cylinder is perceptually suppressed, significantly more perceptual switches occur that are consistent with visual integration of the whole cylinder than occur in a control condition, where only half of the cylinder is presented at a time and the presentation of the two images is physically alternated. In Experiment 2, stimulation in the observers dominant eye was kept dominant by presenting the half cylinder in this eye at higher contrast and by surrounding it with a flickering context. Results show that the strong convexity bias that was found in a control condition, where no stimulus was presented in the suppressed eye, almost completely disappears when the unseen half is presented in the suppressed eye, indicating that both halves visually integrate and, subsequently, compete for convexity. These findings provide evidence that unseen visual information is biased towards a representation that is congruent with the current visible representation and, hence, that principles of perceptual organization also apply to parts of the visual input that remain unseen by the observer.


PubMed | Laboratory of Experimental Psychology and University of Lodz
Type: | Journal: Frontiers in psychology | Year: 2016

Two biases in perceived gaze direction have been observed when eye and head orientation are not aligned. An overshoot effect indicates that perceived gaze direction is shifted away from head orientation (i.e., a repulsive effect), whereas a towing effect indicates that perceived gaze direction falls in between head and eye orientation (i.e., an attraction effect). In the 60s, three influential papers have been published with respect to the effect of head orientation on perceived gaze direction (Gibson and Pick, 1963; Cline, 1967; Anstis et al., 1969). Throughout the years, the results of two of these (Gibson and Pick, 1963; Cline, 1967) have been interpreted differently by a number of authors. In this paper, we critically discuss potential sources of confusion that have led to differential interpretations of both studies. At first sight, the results of Cline (1967), despite having been a major topic of discussion, unambiguously seem to indicate a towing effect whereas Gibson and Picks (1963) results seem to be the most ambiguous, although they have never been questioned in the literature. To shed further light on this apparent inconsistency, we repeated the critical experiments reported in both studies. Our results indicate an overshoot effect in both studies.


Sassi M.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Vancleef K.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Machilsen B.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Panis S.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Wagemans J.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
i-Perception | Year: 2010

Using outlines derived from a widely used set of line drawings, we created stimuli geared towards the investigation of contour integration and texture segmentation using shapes of everyday objects. Each stimulus consisted of Gabor elements positioned and oriented curvilinearly along the outline of an object, embedded within a larger Gabor array of homogeneous density. We created six versions of the resulting Gaborized outline stimuli by varying the orientations of elements inside and outside the outline. Data from two experiments, in which participants attempted to identify the objects in the stimuli, provide norms for identifiability and name agreement, and show differences in identifiability between stimulus versions. While there was substantial variability between the individual objects in our stimulus set, further analyses suggest a number of stimulus properties which are generally predictive of identification performance. The stimuli and the accompanying normative data, both available on our website (http://www.gestaltrevision.be/sources/gaboroutlines), provide a useful tool to further investigate contour integration and texture segmentation in both normal and clinical populations, especially when top-down influences on these processes, such as the role of prior knowledge of familiar objects, are of main interest. © 2010 M Sassi, K Vancleef, B Machilsen, S Panis, J Wagemans.


Van de Cruys S.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Wagemans J.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
i-Perception | Year: 2011

The predictive coding model is increasingly and fruitfully used to explain a wide range of findings in perception. Here we discuss the potential of this model in explaining the mechanisms underlying aesthetic experiences. Traditionally art appreciation has been associated with concepts such as harmony, perceptual fluency, and the so-called good Gestalt. We observe that more often than not great artworks blatantly violate these characteristics. Using the concept of prediction error from the predictive coding approach, we attempt to resolve this contradiction. We argue that artists often destroy predictions that they have first carefully built up in their viewers, and thus highlight the importance of negative affect in aesthetic experience. However, the viewer often succeeds in recovering the predictable pattern, sometimes on a different level. The ensuing rewarding effect is derived from this transition from a state of uncertainty to a state of increased predictability. We illustrate our account with several example paintings and with a discussion of art movements and individual differences in preference. On a more fundamental level, our theorizing leads us to consider the affective implications of prediction confirmation and violation. We compare our proposal to other influential theories on aesthetics and explore its advantages and limitations. © 2011 S Van de Cruys, J Wagemans.


Demeyer M.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | De Graef P.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Wagemans J.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology | Verfaillie K.,Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
Journal of Vision | Year: 2010

Stimulus displacements coinciding with a saccadic eye movement are poorly detected by human observers. In recent years, converging evidence has shown that this phenomenon does not result from poor transsaccadic retention of presaccadic stimulus position information, but from the visual system's efforts to spatially align presaccadic and postsaccadic perception on the basis of visual landmarks. It is known that this process can be disrupted, and transsaccadic displacement detection performance can be improved, by briefly blanking the stimulus display during and immediately after the saccade. In the present study, we investigated whether this improvement could also follow from a discontinuity in the task-irrelevant form of the displaced stimulus. We observed this to be the case: Subjects more accurately identified the direction of intrasaccadic displacements when the displaced stimulus simultaneously changed form, compared to conditions without a form change. However, larger improvements were still observed under blanking conditions. In a second experiment, we show that facilitation induced by form changes and blanks can combine. We conclude that a strong assumption of visual stability underlies the suppression of transsaccadic change detection performance, the rejection of which generalizes from stimulus form to stimulus position. © ARVO.


PubMed | Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: i-Perception | Year: 2012

The predictive coding model is increasingly and fruitfully used to explain a wide range of findings in perception. Here we discuss the potential of this model in explaining the mechanisms underlying aesthetic experiences. Traditionally art appreciation has been associated with concepts such as harmony, perceptual fluency, and the so-called good Gestalt. We observe that more often than not great artworks blatantly violate these characteristics. Using the concept of prediction error from the predictive coding approach, we attempt to resolve this contradiction. We argue that artists often destroy predictions that they have first carefully built up in their viewers, and thus highlight the importance of negative affect in aesthetic experience. However, the viewer often succeeds in recovering the predictable pattern, sometimes on a different level. The ensuing rewarding effect is derived from this transition from a state of uncertainty to a state of increased predictability. We illustrate our account with several example paintings and with a discussion of art movements and individual differences in preference. On a more fundamental level, our theorizing leads us to consider the affective implications of prediction confirmation and violation. We compare our proposal to other influential theories on aesthetics and explore its advantages and limitations.


PubMed | Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
Type: Journal Article | Journal: i-Perception | Year: 2012

Using outlines derived from a widely used set of line drawings, we created stimuli geared towards the investigation of contour integration and texture segmentation using shapes of everyday objects. Each stimulus consisted of Gabor elements positioned and oriented curvilinearly along the outline of an object, embedded within a larger Gabor array of homogeneous density. We created six versions of the resulting Gaborized outline stimuli by varying the orientations of elements inside and outside the outline. Data from two experiments, in which participants attempted to identify the objects in the stimuli, provide norms for identifiability and name agreement, and show differences in identifiability between stimulus versions. While there was substantial variability between the individual objects in our stimulus set, further analyses suggest a number of stimulus properties which are generally predictive of identification performance. The stimuli and the accompanying normative data, both available on our website (http://www.gestaltrevision.be/sources/gaboroutlines), provide a useful tool to further investigate contour integration and texture segmentation in both normal and clinical populations, especially when top-down influences on these processes, such as the role of prior knowledge of familiar objects, are of main interest.


PubMed | Laboratory of Experimental Psychology
Type: Comparative Study | Journal: Journal of vision | Year: 2010

Stimulus displacements coinciding with a saccadic eye movement are poorly detected by human observers. In recent years, converging evidence has shown that this phenomenon does not result from poor transsaccadic retention of presaccadic stimulus position information, but from the visual systems efforts to spatially align presaccadic and postsaccadic perception on the basis of visual landmarks. It is known that this process can be disrupted, and transsaccadic displacement detection performance can be improved, by briefly blanking the stimulus display during and immediately after the saccade. In the present study, we investigated whether this improvement could also follow from a discontinuity in the task-irrelevant form of the displaced stimulus. We observed this to be the case: Subjects more accurately identified the direction of intrasaccadic displacements when the displaced stimulus simultaneously changed form, compared to conditions without a form change. However, larger improvements were still observed under blanking conditions. In a second experiment, we show that facilitation induced by form changes and blanks can combine. We conclude that a strong assumption of visual stability underlies the suppression of transsaccadic change detection performance, the rejection of which generalizes from stimulus form to stimulus position.

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