Temporal Crowding With Central Vision Reveals the Fragility of Visual Representations

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This study examined whether temporal crowding—the impaired object identification when distracting objects precede and succeed it—occurs at the fovea and if so whether its magnitude is reduced.We presented a central sequence of three oriented items separated by relatively long intervals (200/400 ms) and used an orientation estimation task with mixture-model analyses. We found clear evidence of temporal crowding with central vision, even with 400 ms intervals. Critically, reduced encoding precision surfaced as a robust and unique characteristic of temporal crowding. The magnitude of central and peripheral temporal crowding was similar suggesting the involvement of higher visual areas. Precision impairment emerged even when only the target contained orientation information, excluding “response competition” as the sole interference mechanism; yet it was larger when all items included orientation information, underscoring the importance of orientation-selective mechanisms. Overall,we showthat even with central simple stimuli, the formation of a stable visual representation is surprisingly slow.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 American Psychological Association


  • crowding
  • estimation task
  • fovea
  • mixture model
  • precision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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