People can rapidly judge the average size of a collection of objects with considerable accuracy. In this study, we tested whether this size-averaging process relies on relatively early object representations or on later object representations that have undergone iterative processing. We asked participants to judge the average size of a set of circles and, in some conditions, presented two additional circles that were either smaller or larger than the average. The additional circles were surrounded by four-dot masks that either lingered longer than the circle array, preventing further processing with object substitution masking (OSM), or disappeared simultaneously with the circle array, allowing the circle representation to reach later visual processing stages. Surprisingly, estimation of average circle size was modulated by both visible circles and circles whose visibility was impaired by OSM. There was also no correlation across participants between the influence of the masked circles and susceptibility to OSM. These findings suggest that relatively early representations of objects can contribute to the size-averaging process despite their reduced visibility.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Language and Linguistics
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Sensory Systems
- Linguistics and Language