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Competing global and local completions in visual occlusion

Rob J. van Lier, Peter A. van der Helm, Emanuel L. J. Leeuwenberg

Abstract. In visual occlusion, two amodal-completion tendencies occur frequently. One tendency leads toward the simplest completed shape (a global completion) and the other to a shape for which the completion itself is as simple as possible (a local completion). Two experimental paradigms were used to test the strengths of these completion tendencies: a drawing task and a simultaneous matching task. The experimental results support the notion that the preference for either a global or a local completion is the consequence of a competition between interpretations. Finally, the authors discuss how the preference for a completion can be predicted by a model that is based on a quantification of both global and local aspects.

Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 21, 571—583 (1995) Full text