Average orientation is more accessible through object boundaries than surface features

Heeyoung Choo*, Brian R. Levinthal, Steven L. Franconeri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In a glance, the visual system can provide a summary of some kinds of information about objects in a scene. We explore how summary information about orientation is extracted and find that some representations of orientation are privileged over others. Participants judged the average orientation of either a set of 6 bars or 6 circular gratings. For bars, orientation information was carried by object boundary features, while for gratings, orientation was carried by internal surface features. The results showed more accurate averaging performance for bars than for gratings, even when controlling for potential differences in encoding precision for solitary objects. We suggest that, during orientation averaging, the visual system prioritizes object boundaries over surface features. This privilege for boundary features may lead to a better representation of the spatial layout of a scene.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)585-588
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Boundary features
  • Orientation averaging
  • Summary representations
  • Surface features

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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