Release of crowding by pattern completion

Mauro Manassi, Frouke Hermens, Gregory Francis, Michael H Herzog

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


In crowding, target perception deteriorates in the presence of flanking elements. Crowding is classically explained by low-level mechanisms such as pooling or feature substitution. However, we have previously shown that perceptual grouping between the target and flankers, rather than low-level mechanisms, determines crowding. There are many grouping cues that can determine crowding, such as low- and high-level feature similarity, low- and high-level pattern regularity, and good Gestalt. Here we show that pattern completion, another grouping cue that is important for crowding in foveal vision, is also important in peripheral vision. We also describe computer simulations that show how pattern completion, and crowding in general, can be partly explained by recurrent processing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2015

Bibliographical note

We thank Marc Repnow for technical support and Aaron Clarke for useful comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by the project “Basics of visual processing: what crowds in crowding?” of the Swiss National Science Foundation. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement No. 604102 (HBP). Frouke Hermens is now at the University of Lincoln (UK).


  • Crowding
  • Pattern completion


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