The role of scene summary statistics in object recognition

  • Objects that are semantically related to the visual scene context are typically better recognized than unrelated objects. While context effects on object recognition are well studied, the question which particular visual information of an object’s surroundings modulates its semantic processing is still unresolved. Typically, one would expect contextual influences to arise from high-level, semantic components of a scene but what if even low-level features could modulate object processing? Here, we generated seemingly meaningless textures of real-world scenes, which preserved similar summary statistics but discarded spatial layout information. In Experiment 1, participants categorized such textures better than colour controls that lacked higher-order scene statistics while original scenes resulted in the highest performance. In Experiment 2, participants recognized briefly presented consistent objects on scenes significantly better than inconsistent objects, whereas on textures, consistent objects were recognized only slightly more accurately. In Experiment 3, we recorded event-related potentials and observed a pronounced mid-central negativity in the N300/N400 time windows for inconsistent relative to consistent objects on scenes. Critically, inconsistent objects on textures also triggered N300/N400 effects with a comparable time course, though less pronounced. Our results suggest that a scene’s low-level features contribute to the effective processing of objects in complex real-world environments.

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Author:Tim LauerGND, Tim CornelissenGND, Dejan DraschkowORCiDGND, Verena Willenbockel, Melissa Lê-Hoa VõORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Scientific reports
Publisher:Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature
Place of publication:[London]
Document Type:Article
Year of Completion:2018
Date of first Publication:2018/10/02
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2018/10/09
Tag:Electroencephalography – EEG; Human behaviour; Object vision; Sensory processing
Issue:1, Art. 14666
Page Number:12
First Page:1
Last Page:12
Rights and permissions: Open Access: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit
Institutes:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften / Psychologie
Dewey Decimal Classification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 15 Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Open-Access-Publikationsfonds:Psychologie und Sportwissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0