Two experiments were conducted to investigate how color and stereoscopic depth information are used to segregate objects for visual search in three-dimensional (3-D) visual space. Eight observers were asked to indicate the alphanumeric category (letter or digit) of the target which had its unique color and unique depth plane. In Experiment 1, distractors sharing a common depth plane or a common color appeared in spatial contiguity in the xy plane. The results suggest that visual search for the target involves examination of kernels formed by homogeneous items sharing the same color and depth. In Experiment 2, the xy contiguity of distractors sharing a common color or a common depth plane was varied. The results showed that when target-distractor distinction becomes more difficult on one dimension, the other dimension becomes more important in performing visual search, as indicated by a larger effect on search time. This suggests that observers can make optimal use of the information available. Finally, color had a larger effect on search time than did stereoscopic depth. Overall, the results support models of visual processing which maintain that perceptual segregation and selective attention are determined by similarity among objects in 3-D visual space on both spatial and nonspatial stimulus dimensions.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Sensory Systems