Functional Representations of Spatial Layout Can Consist of Independent Pieces

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Structural Disruption, Spatial Relation, Prime Condition, Structural Constraint, Probe Pair

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A scene prime can induce a mental representation of layout that is functional in the sense that it facilitates the processing of depth relations in a subsequent same-scene target. Five experiments indicated that the representation can consist of separate and independent functional regions. In each experiment, primes with as many as four unrelated regions facilitated spatial processing within each region. The prime representations were functional despite structural discontinuity at region borders. The results indicate a limitation in the importance of structural constraint in representations of scene layout. However, when structural disruption occurred within regions that were perceived (Experiment 5), spatial processing was slowed. The results suggest that scene representation is more top down than is scene perception; the effects of structural disruption were overcome within representations, but not within perception.

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Perception & Psychophysics, v. 68, issue 3, p. 415-427