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Journal of the Optical Society of America A

Journal of the Optical Society of America A


  • Editor: Stephen A. Burns
  • Vol. 25, Iss. 1 — Jan. 1, 2008
  • pp: 190–202

Gestalt and phenomenal transparency

Jan Koenderink, Andrea van Doorn, Sylvia Pont, and Whitman Richards  »View Author Affiliations

JOSA A, Vol. 25, Issue 1, pp. 190-202 (2008)

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Phenomenal transparency is commonly studied by using a stimulus configuration introduced by Metelli: a bipartite patch, divided into equal left and right halves is overlaid with a smaller, concentric bipartite patch, divided along the same line. Observers are instructed to report either a transparent patch over an opaque bipartite field or a mosaic of four opaque patches. We show theoretically and empirically that these are only two of five generic perceptual categories, namely, transparent patch, transparent annulus (hole), mosaic, partial transparency, and multiple transparency (ambiguous) cases. Thus Gestalt factors complicate the interpretation “phenomenal transparency.” We propose a framework that avoids this complication. There is excellent agreement between predictions and results.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

OCIS Codes
(290.7050) Scattering : Turbid media
(330.0330) Vision, color, and visual optics : Vision, color, and visual optics
(330.5510) Vision, color, and visual optics : Psychophysics
(350.2450) Other areas of optics : Filters, absorption

ToC Category:
Vision, color, and visual optics

Original Manuscript: March 13, 2007
Revised Manuscript: July 10, 2007
Manuscript Accepted: August 20, 2007
Published: December 19, 2007

Virtual Issues
Vol. 3, Iss. 2 Virtual Journal for Biomedical Optics

Jan Koenderink, Andrea van Doorn, Sylvia Pont, and Whitman Richards, "Gestalt and phenomenal transparency," J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 25, 190-202 (2008)

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