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The time-course of real-world scene perception: spatial and semantic processing

The time-course of real-world scene perception: spatial and semantic processing
The time-course of real-world scene perception: spatial and semantic processing
Real-world scene perception unfolds remarkably quickly, yet the underlying visual processes are poorly understood. Space-centered theory – an influential account of early visual processing – maintains that a scene’s spatial structure (e.g., openness, roughness, mean depth) can be rapidly recovered from low-level image statistics. In turn, the statistical relationship between a scene’s spatial properties and its semantic content allows the scene’s semantic identity to be inferred from its layout. We tested this theory by investigating (i) the temporal dynamics of semantic and spatial structure perception in real-world scenes, and (ii) dependencies between spatial and semantic judgements. Participants viewed images for 13.3 to 106.7 msecs (with backward masking), and identified the semantic (e.g., beach, road) or spatial structure (e.g., open, closed off) category. Performance in both tasks was above chance after only 13.3 msecs, and improved with presentation time. Critically, there was no temporal precedence for spatial discrimination relative to semantic discrimination. The availability of binocular disparity and colour information improved both semantic and spatial structure discrimination. Computational analyses of these data suggest that, instead of using spatial layout to infer semantic categories, as predicted by space-centered theory, the brain does the opposite, exploiting semantic information to discriminate spatial structure categories. These findings challenge traditional ‘bottom-up’ views of scene perception, suggesting an earlier role for semantic processing of visual scenes.
Biological sciences, Neuroscience, Sensory neuroscience
2589-0042
Anderson, Matt D.
53946cbf-a70a-4782-ab28-12f3b9f34aa6
Elder, James
b2ae1ed7-6081-4e4d-9818-b8db753d0531
Graf, Erich
1a5123e2-8f05-4084-a6e6-837dcfc66209
Adams, Wendy
25685aaa-fc54-4d25-8d65-f35f4c5ab688
Anderson, Matt D.
53946cbf-a70a-4782-ab28-12f3b9f34aa6
Elder, James
b2ae1ed7-6081-4e4d-9818-b8db753d0531
Graf, Erich
1a5123e2-8f05-4084-a6e6-837dcfc66209
Adams, Wendy
25685aaa-fc54-4d25-8d65-f35f4c5ab688

Anderson, Matt D., Elder, James, Graf, Erich and Adams, Wendy (2022) The time-course of real-world scene perception: spatial and semantic processing. iScience, 25 (12), [105633]. (doi:10.1016/j.isci.2022.105633).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Real-world scene perception unfolds remarkably quickly, yet the underlying visual processes are poorly understood. Space-centered theory – an influential account of early visual processing – maintains that a scene’s spatial structure (e.g., openness, roughness, mean depth) can be rapidly recovered from low-level image statistics. In turn, the statistical relationship between a scene’s spatial properties and its semantic content allows the scene’s semantic identity to be inferred from its layout. We tested this theory by investigating (i) the temporal dynamics of semantic and spatial structure perception in real-world scenes, and (ii) dependencies between spatial and semantic judgements. Participants viewed images for 13.3 to 106.7 msecs (with backward masking), and identified the semantic (e.g., beach, road) or spatial structure (e.g., open, closed off) category. Performance in both tasks was above chance after only 13.3 msecs, and improved with presentation time. Critically, there was no temporal precedence for spatial discrimination relative to semantic discrimination. The availability of binocular disparity and colour information improved both semantic and spatial structure discrimination. Computational analyses of these data suggest that, instead of using spatial layout to infer semantic categories, as predicted by space-centered theory, the brain does the opposite, exploiting semantic information to discriminate spatial structure categories. These findings challenge traditional ‘bottom-up’ views of scene perception, suggesting an earlier role for semantic processing of visual scenes.

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Accepted/In Press date: 16 November 2022
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 November 2022
Published date: 22 December 2022
Keywords: Biological sciences, Neuroscience, Sensory neuroscience

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 472258
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/472258
ISSN: 2589-0042
PURE UUID: badf319f-d1b5-4c0b-bb9a-188137b90ab1
ORCID for Erich Graf: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3162-4233
ORCID for Wendy Adams: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-5832-1056

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 30 Nov 2022 17:39
Last modified: 07 Jan 2023 02:40

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Contributors

Author: James Elder
Author: Erich Graf ORCID iD
Author: Wendy Adams ORCID iD

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