Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 963–971 | Cite as

Objective measurement of gestalts: Quantifying grouping effect by tilt aftereffect



The importance of holistic perception is described by Gestalt psychology and its principles. Gestalt psychologists have promoted a formal and testable framework for these principles. Quantitative measurements have been introduced from Gestalt psychology in order to complement traditional phenomenal descriptions. Here we demonstrated a new method of measuring grouping effects objectively and quantitatively, by means of tilt aftereffect (TAE) from visual adaptation. Experiment 1 validated the method by measuring grouping based on either proximity or color similarity. Experiments 2 and 3 verified that this paradigm is also effective with dimotif lattices in which different perceptual organizations compete. The novel TAE-based paradigm is an objective and effective method for studying perceptual organization, especially the relationship between different Gestalt principles.


Competing organization Tilt aftereffect (TAE) Objective measurement 


Author note

This work was supported by the National Key Basic Research Program of China Grant 2015CB351701, National Nature Science Foundation of China Grant 91132302, and Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (B) Grants XDB02010001 and XDB02050001.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of BiophysicsChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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