What you see is what you get: Functional equivalence of a perceptually filled-in surface and a physically presented stimulus

Alejandro Lieras, Cathleen M. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A perceptually filled-in surface, such as occurs during sustained attention to a peripheral stimulus (Troxler fading), can be functionally equivalent to a physically presented stimulus. Observers failed to detect probes that were presented in the location of a filled-in surface that had the same surface attributes as the probes; this was true even though, physically, the probes contrasted with the background. Probe stimuli with surface characteristics different from those of the filled-in surface were detected more often, though not quite as often as when there was no filled-in surface. Together, these findings support the idea that there are two components in perceptual filling: a neural filling-in component and a sustained-attention component, which actively suppresses perceptual processing at the filled-in location. More broadly, they illustrate the interplay of basic visual mechanisms in the creation and representation of visual surfaces and in the coding and detection of changes to these surfaces.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)876-881
Number of pages6
JournalPsychological Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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