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Discriminating figure from ground: the role of edge detection and region growing.

Publication Date
  • Research Article
  • Computer Science


Three general classes of algorithms have been proposed for figure/ground segregation. One class attempts to delineate figures by searching for edges, whereas another class attempts to grow homogeneous regions; the third class consists of hybrid algorithms, which combine both procedures in various ways. The experiment reported here demonstrated that humans use a hybrid algorithm that makes use of both kinds of processes simultaneously and interactively. This conclusion follows from the patterns of response times observed when humans tried to recognize degraded polygons. By blurring the edges, the edge-detection process was selectively impaired, and by imposing noise over the figure and background, the region-growing process was selectively impaired. By varying the amounts of both sorts of degradation independently, the interaction between the two processes was observed.

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