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25-05-2019 | Original Article | Uitgave 7/2020

Psychological Research 7/2020

What was that object? On the role of identity information in the formation of object files and conscious object perception

Psychological Research > Uitgave 7/2020
Stephanie C. Goodhew
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00426-019-01200-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Object files are a psychological representation that allows the human brain to keep track of objects, as they move and change across time. The question regarding what information is used to individuate versus update object files has been the focus of considerable scientific debate. Historically, the role of an object’s spatiotemporal history was emphasised, whereas more recent work has demonstrated a key contribution from surface features, such as colour. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the role of identity-level information in the formation and individuation of object files, and how it compares to the contribution of featural information. Using a modified spatial repetition-blindness paradigm, across four experiments, there was convergent evidence that surface features contribute to the formation of object files, whereas the role of identity information was at best much smaller and less reliable than the clear contribution from surface features, and the most parsimonious explanation is that it was not present at all.

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