Semantic consistency versus perceptual salience in visual scenes: Findings from change detection

Sara Spotorno (Lead / Corresponding author), Benjamin W. Tatler, Sylvane Faure

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)


    In a one-shot change detection task, we investigated the relationship between semantic properties (high consistency, i.e., diagnosticity, versus inconsistency with regard to gist) and perceptual properties (high versus low salience) of objects in guiding attention in visual scenes and in constructing scene representations. To produce the change an object was added or deleted in either the right or left half of coloured drawings of daily-life events. Diagnostic object deletions were more accurately detected than inconsistent ones, indicating rapid inclusion into early scene representation for the most predictable objects. Detection was faster and more accurate for high salience than for low salience changes. An advantage was found for diagnostic object changes in the high salience condition, although it was limited to additions when considering response speed. For inconsistent objects of high salience, deletions were detected faster than additions. These findings may indicate that objects are primarily selected on a perceptual basis with subsequent and supplementary effect of semantic consistency, in the sense of facilitation due to object diagnosticity or lengthening of processing time due to inconsistency.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)168-176
    Number of pages9
    JournalActa Psychologica
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • Change detection
    • Diagnosticity
    • Semantic inconsistency
    • Probability of occurance
    • Perceptual salience


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