Using morphs of familiar objects to examine how shape discriminability influences view sensitivity

Rebecca Lawson, University of Liverpool

Heinrich H. Bülthoff, Max Planck Institut für biologische Kybernetik

We investigated how the difficulty of detecting a shape change influenced the achievement of object constancy across depth rotations for object identification and categorization tasks. In three sequential matching experiments, people saw pictures of morphs between two everyday, nameable objects (e.g., bath–sink morphs, along a continuum between “bath” and “sink” end-point shapes). In each experiment, both view changes and shape changes influenced performance. Furthermore, the deleterious effects of view changes were strongest when shape discrimination was hardest. In our earlier research, using morphs of novel objects, we found a similar interaction between view sensitivity and shape sensitivity (Lawson, 2004b; Lawson & Bülthoff, 2006; Lawson, Bülthoff, & Dumbell, 2003). The present results extend these findings to familiar-object morphs. They suggest that recognition remains view-sensitive at the basic level of identification for everyday, nameable objects, and that the difficulty of shape discrimination plays a critical role in determining the degree of this view sensitivity.

Perception and Psychophysics, (2008), 70, 853-877.