This perceptual experience is labeled figure-ground perception. . always instantiated as geometric relationships, whereas the configural cues are. . been proposed to play a key role in explaining many of these reversals. Figure–ground organization is a type of perceptual grouping which is a vital necessity for Figure–ground reversal may be used as an intentional visual design technique in which an existing image's foreground and background colors are. The relationships between figure and ground can be classified into three . The principles of perceptual organization defined by Gestalt.
However, at any point in time, a reversible design will have a clear figure and a clear ground. A classic illustration of this is the image of a Rubin vase have a look at the image above. This tends to be a black vase that is set centrally over a square white background. Down the middle, it has five contours and four projections before it flares out again to cover most of the width of the bottom.
Ambiguous — In an ambiguous design, there is little distinction between the ground and the figure. At any point, a single element might be both figure and ground at the same time. You can make your design ambiguous by blurring the boundaries between your ground and figure. Escher — a Dutch graphic artist - was a master at this. His designs tapped ambiguity to the maximum and, thanks to that, we have wonderful pictures of people climbing steps in buildings: Escher used ambiguity to make waterfalls flow around more buildings in an impossible way — the water initially flows downward, falling in places, follows a seemingly logical course, and then, mysteriously, flows up again.
Ambiguous designs are yours for the taking of your inspiration, whether you want to insert hidden writing, faces in profile that are also a single, different face, or faces made of fruity parts. The use of drop shadow and color creates the illusion of the lower blue menu being on a top layer, while the white menu remains part of the background.
The background is a large and dominant image — the vista of a lake in a majestic mountain wilderness - but the content is clearly identifiable, thanks to the use of both space and contrast with the background. This stops the background from overwhelming the content and distracting or confusing a visitor, who is probably joining in with the couple who sit with their backs to us to take in the view.
The human eye likes to find simplicity and order in complex shapes — it prevents us from being overwhelmed by information overload. Our eyes assemble the content blocks into a single page. We humans like to make quick sense of things that would otherwise be upsettingly disordered.
Figure–ground (perception) - Wikipedia
We dislike flux and need to find meaning quickly. The eye can swiftly pick out any variances, and the user can quickly provide feedback on changes made — without the need for content. When there is missing information in an image, the eye ignores the missing information and fills in the gaps with lines, color or patterns from the surrounding area to complete the image. The eye tells us otherwise.
If the two curvy edges between the black and white regions are assigned inward then the central white region is seen as a vase shape in front of a black background. No faces are perceived in this case. On the other hand, if the edges are assigned outwards, then the two black profile faces are perceived on a white background and no vase shape is perceived.
The human visual system will then settle on either of the interpretations of the Rubin vase and alternate between them. Functional brain imaging shows that when people see the Rubin image as a face, there is activity in the temporal lobe, specifically in the face-selective region   Perceptual process[ edit ] How does the brain decide in a visual scene which item is the figure and which are part of the ground?
This perceptual decision can be based on many cues, all of which are of a probabilistic nature. We have achieved this by using black and white regions on a medium gray overall background in Figure 2 a - Figure 2 d.
Figure-ground perception - Scholarpedia
The importance of these classic configural properties for figure-ground perception was originally revealed via demonstrations e. Empirical studies have tended to support those demonstrations e. For instance, experiments assessing the effectiveness of symmetry as a configural cue have produced equivocal results e.
The classical configural cues were all properties that could be measured on the image; they were geometric in that they were properties of the simple rectilinear or curvilinear lines or shapes in the displays. In support of this claim, They showed that novel regions possessing the configural properties were seen as figures see Figure 1 and Figure 2 d, for instance.
Evidence that figure-ground perception can proceed without input from past experience for novel shapes does not eliminate the possibility that past experience also exerts an influence when shapes are familiar, however. They demonstrated widespread use of the classical configural cues by adults, at least when displays were exposed for long durations.
Such findings cannot demonstrate innateness, however, because high agreement between adults can arise because of learning. Thus, it is unclear whether responses to these configural properties per se are innate, or whether a sophisticated learning mechanism has evolved that allows humans to extract the statistical properties of the environment in which they live and configural cues are among those properties. Non-classical geometric configural properties Figure 3: Standing woman depicted in black on the left.
An Assumption in Peril. Recent experiments tested directly whether or not past experience could affect figure assignment, and found that it could, contrary to the Gestalt claim e.
The Laws of Figure/Ground, Prägnanz, Closure, and Common Fate - Gestalt Principles (3)
In the displays used in these experiments a portion of a familiar, nameable, object was suggested on only one side of an edge; hence, the shapes potentially perceived on opposite sides of the edge differed in familiarity.
Observers are more likely to perceive the figure on the side of the edge where the familiar object lies when the display is presented with the familiar object in its typical upright orientation see Figure 3 a rather than in an inverted orientation see Figure 3 b.
For review see Peterson Orientation dependency was critical for attributing these effects to past experience rather than simply to geometric properties because the former but not the latter would vary with a change from upright to inverted. Experiments also showed that effects of familiarity were observed only when the parts of the familiar object were shown in their proper spatial relationships e.
Effects of familiarity were not observed when the parts were rearranged e. These effects necessarily depend upon past experience and as such may seem to differ from effects attributable to the classical configural cues because past experience is not always instantiated as geometric relationships, whereas the configural cues are.
However, we note that in the experiments we have described, past experience is operationalized as a familiar configuration of parts which can be specified geometrically.
It may not be the case that all forms of past experience influence figure assignment but only those that are embodied geometrically. Peterson and Gibson showed that familiar configuration can affect figure assignment even when it conflicts with classic Gestalt configural cues.
Consider displays like Figure 3 d, where the asymmetric black region portrays a familiar object a seahorse whereas the symmetric white region portrays a novel shape. Here, the cues of familiar configuration and symmetry compete with each other. When an upright version of this display is exposed briefly, familiar configuration is slightly more powerful than symmetry, but the two cues seem to compete so that the shaped figure is sometimes seen on the unfamiliar symmetric white side of the central edge.
These results showed that familiar configuration does not invariably dominate other cues.
Instead, it is one of many visual properties used for figure assignment Peterson The base of the black region is wider than the contiguous white region.
The black region on the left protrudes into the white region. Modern psychologists have identified other geometric properties that determine which regions of the visual field will be seen as figures. The lower of two regions separated by a horizontal border is more likely than the upper region to be seen as the figure see Figure 4 b; Vecera et al.
The configural cues are shape cues; they determine where the shape lies with respect to an edge. But recall that the region complementary to the figure is often perceived to complete behind it. The perceptual completion of the ground has not received much attention in the study of figure-ground perception. It is possible that at least some of the configural properties may convey depth information as well as shape information Burge et al. Depth cues The region that appears shaped also tends to appear closer although this relationship does not always hold, e.
Depth cues determine which of two contiguous regions is closer to the viewer even in the absence of the classic configural cues. Closer regions tend to be shaped by the edges they share with contiguous regions in the visual input, and the latter typically appear to continue behind as backgrounds.
There are ample empirical investigations of the depth cues: Such research is needed for a full understanding of figure-ground perception.
Non-geometric factors Subjective factors Subjective factors can also influence figure assignment.
Subjective factors can alter the likelihood of seeing the figure on one side of an edge, but typically they tend not to overpower configural cues. Spatial frequency Figure 5: High spatial frequency pattern fills every other region, with low spatial frequency patterns in intervening regions.
- Figure–ground (perception)
Reprinted with permission from Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance: Extremal edges An extremal edge EE is a self-occluding edge. A sample is shown in Figure 5 b, where the extremal edge lies on the left side of the central border.
Research is needed to determine whether extremal edges are depth cues, figural cues, or both. Watercolor Illusion Consider a region bounded by two thin colored lines that are parallel to and touching each other. One of the colored lines contrasts less with the background than the other.
Not much is known about the Watercolor Illusion as a figural cue; unlike other figural cues, it has not been examined in isolation, it has always interacted with one or more of the other figural cues. Ambiguous figure-ground perception Figure 6: Figure-ground perception can be ambiguous. In this display, viewers can perceive either the central white region or the surrounding black region as the figure at any moment. When the white region appears to be the figure, it has a definite shape, one that resembles a white vase or a goblet.