Configural and analytical processing of familiar and unfamiliar objects

Behrad Noudoost, Mehdi Adibi, Ali Moeeny, Hossein Esteky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Configural processing could develop for non-face visual objects as one becomes familiar with those objects through repeated exposure. To explore the role of familiarity in object recognition, we studied the effect of adaptation to a visual object (adapting stimulus) on the identification performance of other objects (test stimulus) while adapting and test stimuli were exactly the same, shared parts or were completely different. We used a subset of English alphabets (p, q, d and b) as familiar objects and an unfamiliar set of symbols constructed from same parts but with different configurations. Adaptation to a member of each set led to a lower identification performance for that object in a crowding paradigm. Adaptation to each member of the unfamiliar set resulted in decreased identification performance for the same object and those members of the set that shared parts with the adapting stimulus. But no such transfer of adaptation was observed for the familiar set. Our results support the notion that processing of object parts plays an important role in the recognition of unfamiliar objects while recognition of familiar objects is mainly based on configural processing mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-441
Number of pages6
JournalCognitive Brain Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Configural processing
  • Face recognition
  • Identification performance

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