Form and texture in hierarchically constructed patterns

Ruth Kimchi, Stephen E. Palmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Five experiments with 169 undergraduates investigated perceived organization of hierarchically constructed patterns, using similarity judgments and a verbal description task. The number of elements and their sizes relative to the configuration were varied. Results show that in patterns composed of a few relatively large elements, the elements were perceived as individual parts of the overall form and were perceptually salient. Increasing the number of elements and/or decreasing their size resulted in a perceived unified form associated with texture, representing the structural properties of the elements as a group. In the latter case, the perceptual salience of the individual element decreased, and the global form (or sometimes the texture) dominated perception. Findings suggest that the mapping of the 2 independent geometrical levels into meaningful perceptual levels depends critically on the number and relative size of the elements, thereby changing the perceived organization of the whole pattern. (28 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)521-535
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1982
Externally publishedYes


  • number of elements of hierarchically constructed patterns, perceived organization of pattern, college students
  • size &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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