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Publication Detail
Crowding changes appearance systematically in peripheral, amblyopic, and developing vision
  • Publication Type:
    Journal article
  • Authors:
    Kalpadakis-Smith AV, Tailor VK, Dahlmann-Noor AH, Greenwood JA
  • Publisher:
    Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO)
  • Publication date:
  • Pagination:
    1, 32
  • Journal:
    Journal of Vision
  • Volume:
  • Issue:
  • Status:
  • Language:
  • Notes:
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third-party material in this article are included in the Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Visual crowding is the disruptive effect of clutter on object recognition. Although most prominent in adult peripheral vision, crowding also disrupts foveal vision in typically developing children and those with strabismic amblyopia. Do these crowding effects share the same mechanism? Here we exploit observations that crowded errors in peripheral vision are not random: Target objects appear either averaged with the flankers (assimilation) or replaced by them (substitution). If amblyopic and developmental crowding share the same mechanism, then their errors should be similarly systematic. We tested foveal vision in children aged 3 to 8 years with typical vision or strabismic amblyopia and peripheral vision in typical adults. The perceptual effects of crowding were measured by requiring observers to adjust a reference stimulus to match the perceived orientation of a target “Vac-Man” element. When the target was surrounded by flankers that differed by ± 30°, all three groups (adults and children with typical or amblyopic vision) reported orientations between the target and flankers (assimilation). Errors were reduced with ± 90° differences but primarily matched the flanker orientation (substitution) when they did occur. A population pooling model of crowding successfully simulated this pattern of errors in all three groups. We conclude that the perceptual effects of amblyopic and developing crowding are systematic and resemble the near periphery in adults, suggesting a common underlying mechanism.
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