Illusory Conjunction: More than Meets the Eye Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 20 April 2017

Illusory Conjunction: More than Meets the Eye

The sense of vision gives us a sense of control over our immediate environment. Being able to see the world around gives us the ability to respond immediately and appropriately. (Kandel et al 2000) Our visual system has long been the subject of many researchers and studies. Scientists have long been mystified by the vision and the enigmas that continue to surround even in this day and age of modern sciences. One area of particular interest for scientists is the discovery of how different stimuli affect the perception of different objects.

While this phenomenon is often considered as a result of a lack of concentration or focus, or a short attention span, there is much more to it than meets the eye.. Many researches have been done to determine the mechanisms and the reasons for the mistaken or false association of objects to some stimuli. Experiments have been conducted to determine the variables that affect the said phenomenon. Most of these studies point to certain errors in the perception of objects that seem to have similar characteristics with some things.

The mind associates the object with known things, and thus perceives the object as such. (Boller & Grafman, 2001). This error is called Illusory Conjunction.. Among the most notable researchers in this area is Anne Treisman. She is a renowned expert in how memory affects visual perception and object recognition. Treisman was the proponent of Theory of Feature Integration. This theory posits that the perception of an object in association to the stimuli entails two processes.

The first is the physiological “seeing” of the object through the retina, and the second is the association of the “seen” to the individual’s schema or memory. Thus the perception takes place at two levels, the eyes where the image is processed, and the brain where the image is related to experience and memory. (Treisman, 1984; Schneider & Maasen, 1998) Attention and concentration have crucial roles that affect the correctness of our perception. When we pay enough attention to the stimuli and concentrate, our mind does not get distracted with memories and thus lessens our errors in perception and object recognition.

When we focus, all the pertinent details that we need to correctly identify the stimuli. Attention takes place in the brain, so that means even if we “see” the object correctly with our eyes, we may make an error in identify it because we are sidetracked by other thoughts. This is in agreement with Treisman’s thesis that perception and recognition can be altered by memory and experience, but such can be avoided with proper focus and concentration on the task at hand.

Illusory Conjunction happens when we are presented with two distinct stimuli and we mistakenly perceive one of them as the other. In other words, the two different stimuli are fused and perceived as one. This often occurs when merely take a passing glance at the stimuli and we do not look long and hard enough. Experiments that measure the capability of visual perception to endure excessive information has been performed. They were used to determine the frequency of Illusory Conjunction given certain stimuli.

This involves the use of stimuli that resemble each other very closely. These stimuli were meant to confuse the subject and test the limits of his or her concentration and perceptual capabilities. Experiment Subject: Students from Psychology Class Material: This experiment will use cards with nine in a 3×3 grid. These flash cards will be shown to the participants. Initially, only four sets of cards will be shown, with a total of 48 different images. All of these images are different from one another, but each bear remarkable resemblance to the rest.

The first one, Target/Congruous set has an arrow, four corners and lines, with the lines oriented with the arrow’s diagonal. Next, the Target/Incongruous set also has an arrow, four corners and lines, but the lines are opposite the direction of the arrow. The third the No Target/ Congruous set which has four corners and five lines, with the lines oriented to the line of the arrow. Lastly, the No Target/ Incongruous set has four corners and five lines, with the lines are oriented opposite the orientation of the diagonal.

For the second part of the experiment, the first is the Target/Congruous set which contains a triangle, four corners, and four lines oriented to the diagonal of the triangle. Next is the Target/Incongruous set which also has a triangle, four lines and four corners; the lines are oriented opposite the diagonal of the triangle. The No Target/Congruous set has four corners and lines which are oriented as the line of the triangle would be if a line is present. The No Target/Incongruous set has has four corners and five lines with lines oriented opposite of the triangle if one of the lines is present.

The Target/Congruous Context/ Closure have a triangle, three lines and corners, two circles with lines pointing the same direction as the triangle. The Target/ Incongruous Context/ Closure is the same as the Target/ Congruous Context/ Closure but the line is opposite the triangle’s diagonal. The No Target/Congruous Context/ Closure have three corners, lines and circles and the line is oriented to the triangle. The No Target/Incongruous Context/ Closure is the same as No Target/Congruous Context/ Closure but the line is oriented opposite the diagonal of the triangle if it were present.

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  • Date: 20 April 2017

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