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Contour Completion and Relative Depth: Petter's Rule and Support Ratio

Manish Singh, Donald D. Hoffman and Marc K. Albert
Psychological Science
Vol. 10, No. 5 (Sep., 1999), pp. 423-428
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40063458
Page Count: 6
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Contour Completion and Relative Depth: Petter's Rule and Support Ratio
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Abstract

The ability to see complete objects despite occlusion is critical to humans' visual success. Human vision can amodally complete visual objects that are partially occluded, and modally complete visual objects that occlude other objects. Previous experiments showed that the perceived strength of a completed contour depends on its support ratio: the ratio of the length of the physically specified contour to the total length of the contour. Other experiments showed that human vision prefers to make modal completions as short as possible, an effect known as Petter's rule. The experiment reported here examined the relationship between Petter's rule and support ratio, showing that both affect modal completion in figures of homogeneous color, but that when they compete Petter's rule dominates. Finally, our results confirm that Petter's rule is an effect of relative gap lengths and not of relative size.

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