Perceptual completion of partly occluded contours during childhood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An early functional onset of perceptual completion has been extensively documented during the first several months after birth. However, there is no indication for the developmental time periods at which these skills become fully developed. We used a version of an object-based attention task in which children and adults performed a same–different size judgment of two features appearing at two of four possible ends of overlapping objects. Single-object over two-object superiority (i.e., faster judgments when the features appeared on the same object than when they appeared on different objects) was observed for a complete object as early as at 4 years of age. However, it is only at 5 years of age that such a single-object advantage was obtained also for an occluded object, and even then the advantage of the single-object and occluded-object conditions over the two-object condition was observed only when the two features in the two-object condition were spatially distant, demonstrating the critical role of spatial proximity in perceptual organization during childhood. The results suggest that perceptual completion during infancy and early childhood demonstrates some rudimentary perceptual skills that become more firmly established with age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-61
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
StatePublished - Mar 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation (ISF, Grant 967/14 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Inc.


  • Amodal completion
  • Contour interpolation
  • Object-based attention
  • Occlusion
  • Partly-occluded objects
  • Perceptual completion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptual completion of partly occluded contours during childhood'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this