The effects of Kanizsa contours on temporal integration and attention in rapid serial visual presentation

Aytac Karabay, Elkan G. Akyürek

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Performance in rapid serial visual presentation tasks has been shown to depend on the temporal integration of target stimuli when they are presented in direct succession. Temporal target integration produces a single, combined representation of visually compatible stimuli, which is comparatively easy to identify. It is currently unknown to what extent target compatibility affects this perceptual behavior, since it has not been studied systematically to date. In the present study the effects of compatibility on temporal integration and attention were investigated by manipulating the Gestalt properties of target features. Of particular interest were configurations in which a global illusory shape was formed when all stimulus features were present; a Kanizsa stimulus, which was expected to have a unifying effect on the perception of the successive targets. The results showed that although the presence of a Kanizsa shape can indeed enhance temporal integration, this was also observed for other good Gestalts, such as due to common fate and closure. Identification accuracy seemed to vary, possibly as a result of masking strength, but this did not seem associated with attentional processing per se. Implications for theories of Gestalt processing and temporal integration are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1742-1754
Number of pages13
JournalAttention, Perception, & Psychophysics
Issue number6
Early online date19-May-2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2017


  • perceptual Gestalts
  • temporal integration
  • attentional blink
  • rapid serial visual presentation

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