Expectation-based gist facilitation: Rapid scene understanding and the role of top-down information

McLean, Dominic, Nuthmann, Antje, Renoult, Louis ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7861-0552 and Malcolm, George L. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4892-5961 (2023) Expectation-based gist facilitation: Rapid scene understanding and the role of top-down information. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 152 (7). 1907–1936. ISSN 0096-3445

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Scene meaning is processed rapidly, with “gist” extracted even when presentation duration spans a few dozen milliseconds. This has led some to suggest a primacy of bottom-up information. However, gist research has typically relied on showing successions of unrelated scene images, contrary to our everyday experience in which the world unfolds around us in a predictable manner. Thus, we investigated whether top-down information—in the form of observers’ predictions of an upcoming scene—facilitates gist processing. Within each trial, participants (N = 370) experienced a series of images, organized to represent an approach to a destination (e.g., walking down a sidewalk), followed by a target scene either congruous or incongruous with the expected destination (e.g., a store interior or a bedroom). A series of behavioral experiments revealed that appropriate expectations facilitated gist processing; inappropriate expectations interfered with gist processing; sequentially-arranged scene images benefitted gist processing when semantically related to the target scene; expectation-based facilitation was most apparent when presentation duration was most curtailed; and findings were not simply the result of response bias. We then investigated the neural correlates of predictability on scene processing using event-related potentials (ERPs) (N = 24). Congruency-related differences were found in a putative scene-selective ERP component, related to integrating visual properties (P2), and in later components related to contextual integration including semantic and syntactic coherence (N400 and P600, respectively). Together, results suggest that in real-world situations, top-down predictions of an upcoming scene influence even the earliest stages of its processing, affecting both the integration of visual properties and meaning.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: event-related potentials,gist,scene processing,semantic integration,top-down information,experimental and cognitive psychology,psychology(all),developmental neuroscience ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3200/3205
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Cognition, Action and Perception
Faculty of Social Sciences > Research Groups > Developmental Science
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 16 Dec 2022 10:32
Last Modified: 01 Jul 2023 03:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/90254
DOI: 10.1037/xge0001363


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