Abstract

Illusory figure completion demonstrates the ability of the visual system to integrate information across gaps. Mechanisms that underlie figural emergence support the interpolation of contours and the filling-in of form information [Grossberg, S., & Mingolla, E. Neural dynamics of form perception: Boundary completion, illusory figures and neon colour spreading. Psychological Review, 92, 173–211, 1985]. Although both processes contribute to figure formation, visual search for an illusory target configuration has been shown to be susceptible to interfering form, but not contour, information [Conci, M., Müller, H. J., & Elliott, M. A. The contrasting impact of global and local object attributes on Kanizsa figure detection. Submitted]. Here, the physiological basis of form interference was investigated by recording event-related potentials elicited from contour- and surface-based distracter interactions with detection of a target Kanizsa figure. The results replicated the finding of form interference and revealed selection of the target and successful suppression of the irrelevant distracter to be reflected by amplitude differences in the N2pc component (240–340 msec). In conclusion, the observed component variations reflect processes of target selection on the basis of integrated form information resulting from figural completion processes.

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