ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2013, Vol. 45 ›› Issue (6): 649-657.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2013.00649

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The Role of Surface Color Feature Cue in Object Persistence under Two Different Spatiotemporal Conditions

XU Baihua;LI Yuming;CUI Xiangyu   

  1. (Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310028, China)
  • Received:2012-09-04 Published:2013-06-25 Online:2013-06-25
  • Contact: XU Baihua

Abstract: Whether surface feature information could become a cue in object persistence has been a controversial issue. According to the object file theory by Kahneman, Treisman and Gibbs (1992), spatiotemporal information, rather than surface feature information, is the key cue in object persistence. This viewpoint was supported by Mitroff and Alvarez’ (2007) experiments using an object-reviewing paradigm. They found that participants could not establish object correspondence based on surface feature cues. However, Moore, Stephens and Hein (2010) exchanged the features of two objects abruptly in their experiments and found that the object correspondence operation could be established on the basis of surface feature cues. In the present study, the role of surface feature cues in object persistence was examined under two different conditions. In one condition, the spatiotemporal cue was ambiguous; in another condition, the spatiotemporal cue and the surface color feature cue were either congruent or conflicting. The present study used an object-reviewing paradigm and added a “tunnel” stimulus in order to control the role of spatiotemporal cues. Each “tunnel” stimulus was composed of a large circle with rectangles located at four points around the circle, to the left and right of the circle and above and below it. The left and right rectangles were entrances and the upper and lower rectangles were exits. On each trial, two objects entered the tunnel at same time from the left and right entrances, and then exited from the upper and lower exits respectively. The objects were not visible when they were in the tunnel. There were two kinds of tunnels. One was “dual-route tunnel”; another was “single-route tunnel”. When the dual-route tunnel was used, the two objects moving into the tunnel would leave the tunnel from the upper and lower exits at random, therefore the spatiotemporal cue was ambiguous. When the single-route tunnel was used, each object would leave the tunnel from one specific exit. Several unfamiliar figures were used as the test stimuli to minimize the possibility of verbal encoding of the stimuli by participants. Participants were instructed to judge whether the two figures on the objects after they left the tunnel were the same as the two figures on the objects before they entered the tunnel. Object specific previewing benefit was calculated to estimate the role of the surface feature in object persistence. Two experiments were conducted. In experiment 1, the dual-route tunnel was used and evidence for OSPB was found when the spatiotemporal cue was ambiguous. In experiment 2, the single-route tunnel was used and evidence for OSPB was also found, but the size of the effect was smaller in the conflicting condition than in the congruent condition. These results suggest that object persistence could be based on the surface feature cue when the spatiotemporal cue is ambiguous, and that the surface feature cue could also play a role in object persistence when the spatiotemporal cue was present.

Key words: object persistence, surface feature cue, surface color, object file theory, object-specific preview benefit