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Mind Closes on Object

 

Explanations > Perception > Visual Perception > Mind Closes on Object

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?

 

Description

In seeking to identify the things around us, our eyes trace outlines and explore texture before finally deciding 'here is a thing'. Once we recognize that we have a distinct 'thing' (and before recognizing it) the mind experiences 'closure', whereby it stops following contrastive outlines and textural detail and moves onto the next stage of figuring out exactly what this thing actually is (and consequently what to do about it).

Example

A person squints at a patch of color in the fog and eventually distinguishes that there is a distinct thing there.

I see a shape move in the shadows. The movement helps me identify that it is a distinct thing. Then I must assess whether it is human or not, and whether a threat or not.

Discussion

We see and recognize things in close to real time, but need a little time to go from seeing a thing and making sense of what it is. Seeing a shape means finding an outline, plus perhaps some contained detail. Once we have separated out an object, we can next compare it with our internal library of objects to identify it.

A shape is separated from its background. This separation is enhanced by stronger contrastive separation from the background, whether this is through luminosity, color or other factors such as movement.

So what?

If you want viewers to clearly identify an object in an image, ensure it has a clear outline and stands out from the background, for example by being a different hue. You can also deliberately cause confusion and hence sustain attention by merging the object into its context, at least partially.

See also

Closure principle, Specificity principle

 

 

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