The role of convexity in perceptual completion: beyond good continuation

TitleThe role of convexity in perceptual completion: beyond good continuation
Publication TypeJournal Articles
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsLiu Z, Jacobs DW, Basri R
JournalVision Research
Pagination4244 - 4257
Date Published1999/12//
ISBN Number0042-6989
KeywordsAmodal completion, Convexity, Good continuation, Grouping, Stereoscopic depth

Since the seminal work of the Gestalt psychologists, there has been great interest in understanding what factors determine the perceptual organization of images. While the Gestaltists demonstrated the significance of grouping cues such as similarity, proximity and good continuation, it has not been well understood whether their catalog of grouping cues is complete — in part due to the paucity of effective methodologies for examining the significance of various grouping cues. We describe a novel, objective method to study perceptual grouping of planar regions separated by an occluder. We demonstrate that the stronger the grouping between two such regions, the harder it will be to resolve their relative stereoscopic depth. We use this new method to call into question many existing theories of perceptual completion (Ullman, S. (1976). Biological Cybernetics, 25, 1–6; Shashua, A., & Ullman, S. (1988). 2nd International Conference on Computer Vision (pp. 321–327); Parent, P., & Zucker, S. (1989). IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence, 11, 823–839; Kellman, P. J., & Shipley, T. F. (1991). Cognitive psychology, Liveright, New York; Heitger, R., & von der Heydt, R. (1993). A computational model of neural contour processing, figure-ground segregation and illusory contours. In Internal Conference Computer Vision (pp. 32–40); Mumford, D. (1994). Algebraic geometry and its applications, Springer, New York; Williams, L. R., & Jacobs, D .W. (1997). Neural Computation, 9, 837–858) that are based on Gestalt grouping cues by demonstrating that convexity plays a strong role in perceptual completion. In some cases convexity dominates the effects of the well known Gestalt cue of good continuation. While convexity has been known to play a role in figure/ground segmentation (Rubin, 1927; Kanizsa & Gerbino, 1976), this is the first demonstration of its importance in perceptual completion.