Quinn P C, 2004, "Visual perception of orientation is categorical near vertical and continuous near horizontal" Perception 33(8) 897 – 906
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Visual perception of orientation is categorical near vertical and continuous near horizontal
Paul C Quinn
Received 9 September 2002, in revised form 22 March 2004; published online 20 August 2004
Abstract. Four experiments were conducted to examine whether visual-orientation information is perceived categorically. In experiments 1 and 3, adult participants sorted oriented line stimuli into broad oblique and narrow vertical or horizontal categories. Experiments 2 and 4 showed that categorical discrimination of orientation occurred only near the vertical -- oblique boundary. The data indicate that there is categorical perception near vertical and more continuous perception near horizontal. The results are relevant to the debate over whether categorical perception is derived from perceptual structure, verbal coding, or within-task learning. In addition, the asymmetrical perception of orientation around vertical and horizontal is consistent with the possibility that there may be differences in the functional significance of orientation near the two main axes.
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