Detection of change in shape:
an advantage for concavities
Elan Barenholtz, Elias H. Cohen, Jacob Feldman, Manish Singh
Cognition, 89, 1-9 (2003)
Shape representation was studied using a change detection task. Observers viewed two individual shapes in succession, either identical or one a slightly altered version of the other, and reported whether they detected a change. We found a dramatic advantage for concave compared to convex changes of equal magnitude. Observers were more accurate when a concavity along the contour was introduced, or removed, compared to a convexity. This result sheds light on the underlying representation of visual shape, and in particular the central role played by part-boundaries. Moreover, this finding shows how change detection methodology can serve as a useful tool in studying the specific form of visual representations.