The Spatial Representation of Natural Scenes

Helene Intraub

The research described in this report is part of an ongoing project to develop a model of the spatial representation of scenes, referred to an the Extension-Normalization Model (intraub et al., in press). The model has implications for picture memory, spatial imagination, and the integration of eye fixations during visual scanning. It is characterized by two types of schematic structures. The first, called the "perceptual schema", is thought to be a mental representation of the expected layout of a partially specified scene. It is thought to be similar to the "mental schema," proposed by Hochberg (1978, 1986) to account for the integration of successive views during visual perception. The perceptual schema, which extrapolates expected scene structure, is activated when the viewer encounters a partial view. The expected scene structure outside the picture’s boundaries is so fundamental to comprehension that it becomes incorporated in the observer’s mental representation of the picture, thus causing boundary extension in memory.


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