Microgenesis and Ontogenesis of Perceptual Organization: Evidence From Global and Local Processing of Hierarchical Patterns

Date of Original Version




Abstract or Description

In two experiments, visual search and speeded classification were used to study perception of hierarchical patterns among participants aged 5 to 23 years. Perception of global configurations of few-element patterns and local elements of many-element patterns showed large age-related improvements. Only minor age-related changes were observed in perception of global configurations of many-element patterns and local elements of few-element patterns. These results are consistent with prior microgenetic analyses using hierarchical patterns. On the one hand, the rapid and effortless grouping of many small elements and the individuation of few large elements both mature by age 5. In contrast, the time-consuming and effortful grouping of few large elements and the individuation of many small elements improve substantially with age, primarily between ages 5 and 10. These findings support the view that perceptual organization involves multiple processes that vary in time course, attentional demands, and developmental trajectories.




Published In

Psychological Science, 16, 4, 282-290.