Rapid visual grouping and figure-ground processing using temporally structured displays

Samuel Cheadle, Marius Usher, Hermann J. Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examine the time course of visual grouping and figure-ground processing. Figure (contour) and ground (random-texture) elements were flickered with different phases (i.e., contour and background are alternated), requiring the observer to group information within a pre-specified time window. It was found this grouping has a high temporal resolution: less than 20. ms for smooth contours, and less than 50. ms for line conjunctions with sharp angles. Furthermore, the grouping process takes place without an explicit knowledge of the phase of the elements, and it requires a cumulative build-up of information. The results are discussed in relation to the neural mechanism for visual grouping and figure-ground segregation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1803-1813
Number of pages11
JournalVision Research
Issue number18
StatePublished - Aug 2010


  • Figure ground
  • Temporal structure
  • Visual grouping

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