Psychophysical evidence for low-level processing of illusory contours and surfaces in the Kanizsa square

Vision Research 31:1813-1817 (1991)
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Light increment thresholds were measured on either side of one of the illusory contours of a white-on-black Kanizsa square and on the illusory contour itself. The data show that thresholds are elevated when measured on either side of the illusory border. These elevations diminish with increasing distance of the target spot from the white elements which induce the illusory figure. The most striking result, however, is that threshold elevations are considerably lower or even absent when the target is located on the illusory contour itself. At an equivalent position in a control figure where no illusory contour is visible, such a threshold decrease does not occur. The present observations add empirical support to neural theories of illusory form perception.
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