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Perception of Emergent Configurations in Humans (Homo sapiens) and Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)

Kazuhiro Goto, Tomoko Imura, & Masaki Tomonaga

We examined the perceptions of emergent configurations in humans and chimpanzees using a target localization task. The stimulus display consisted of a target placed among multiple identical distractors. The target and distractors were presented either solely, within congruent contexts in which salient configurations emerge, or within incongruent contexts in which salient configurations do not emerge. We found that congruent contexts had similar facilitative effects on target localization by humans and chimpanzees, whereas similar disruptive effects emerged when the stimuli were presented within incongruent contexts. When display size was manipulated, targets under the congruent-context condition were localized in a parallel manner, but those under the no-context and incongruent-context conditions were localized in a serial manner by both species. These results suggest that both humans and chimpanzees perceive emergent configurations when targets and distractors are presented within certain congruent contexts and that they process such emergent configurations preattentively. Keywords: Gestalt, emergent features, configurations, wholes, chimpanzees

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes, Published online DOI: 10.1037/a0026899


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