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Complete mergeability and amodal completion


Tse,  PU
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Tse, P. (1999). Complete mergeability and amodal completion. Acta Psychologica, 102(2-3), 165-201. doi:10.1016/S0001-6918(99)00027-X.

When image fragments are taken to correspond to the visible portions of a single occluded object, the object is said to 'amodally complete' behind the occluder. Kellman and Shipley (Kellman, P. J., Shipley, T. F. (1991). A theory of visual interpolation in objective perception. Cognitive Psychology, 23, 144-221) argued that when the virtual contour extensions of such image fragments subtend an obtuse or right angle, the contours are 'relatable' and therefore complete. However, edge and surface relatability are neither necessary nor sufficient for completion to be perceived (Tse, P. U. (1999) Volume completion. Cognitive Psychology). Evidence is offered that completion is not driven directly by image cues such as contour relatability, but is driven, rather, by intermediate representations, such as volumes that are inferred from global image cue relationships. Evidence suggests that several factors, none of which is necessary for amodal completion to occur, contribute to the perceived strength of amodal completion, including similarity of pattern or substance, proximity, and good volume continuation or complete mergeability. Two partially occluded volumes are completely mergeable when they can be extended into occluded space along the trajectory defined by their visible surfaces such that they merge entirely with each other. Mergeability is not measurable in the image because it describes an inferred relationship among volumes that must themselves be inferred from the image.