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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Perceptual grouping refers to the process of determining which regions and parts of the visual scene belong together as parts of higher order perceptual units such as objects or patterns. In the early 20th century, Gestalt psychologists identified a set of classic grouping principles, which specified how some image features lead to grouping between elements given that all other factors were held constant. Modern vision scientists have expanded this list to cover a wide range of image features, but have also expanded the importance of learning and other non-image factors. Unlike early Gestalt accounts, which were based largely on visual demonstrations, modern theories are often explicitly quantitative and involve detailed models of how various image features modulate grouping. Work has also been done to understand the rules by which different grouping principles integrate to form a final percept. This chapter gives an overview of the classic principles, modern developments in understanding them, and new principles and the evidence for them. There is also discussion of some of the larger theoretical issues about grouping, such as at what stage of visual processing it occurs and what types of neural mechanisms may implement grouping principles.

Keywords: perceptual grouping, Gestalt, segregation, perception, perceptual hierarchy, image-based, top-down, vision, perceptual organization.

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