Preattentive grouping is supported by 2 systems, a brightness system that is contrast polarity sensitive and an edge system that is relatively insensitive to contrast polarity. Search was spatially parallel for pairs of same contrast polarity vertically aligned circles, among horizontal pairs, and serial for pairs of circles that had the opposite contrast polarity (Experiments 1-3). By replacing the circles with squares, the authors investigated the effect of adding collinear edge information. When collinear edges were present, the polarity difference between paired items did not disrupt grouping (Experiments 4-6). These results support models of grouping in which brightness and edge information are processed separately (e.g., S. Grossberg & E. Mingolla, 1985) and models of visual search in which complex relations between stimuli can be computed in parallel across the display.
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