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Title page for ETD etd-08242017-150824

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Chua, Kao-Wei
Author's Email Address kaochua@gmail.com
URN etd-08242017-150824
Title Holistic Processing: A Matter of Experience
Degree PhD
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Isabel Gauthier Committee Chair
Dan Levin Committee Member
James Tanaka Committee Member
Tom Palmeri Committee Member
  • perception
  • vision
  • expertise
  • holistic processing
Date of Defense 2017-07-22
Availability unrestricted
Experts process objects of expertise holistically, or as entire wholes rather than parts. Previous research has demonstrated that holistic processing comes with individuation experience, but thus far, it has been difficult to disentangle the effects of experience and visual ability on holistic processing. For familiar objects, experience levels vary and are difficult to quantify. Additionally, recognition performance with faces does not correlate with holistic processing. What factors impact holistic processing, then? Holistic processing can be conceived of as a learned strategy wherein diagnostic parts are obligatorily attended. As people gain experience with objects, attentional biases to these parts may be strengthened. Thus, it is possible that the magnitude of holistic processing is directly related to the amount of experience one has in a category. However, to date, most studies of holistic processing have equated training time across subjects and compared trained and untrained subjects, giving us little information about graded effects of experience. To that end, the current study involves manipulating the level of experience across groups of subjects with three categories of novel objects. Two of the categories were matched on experience level, and a third was assigned the remaining amount of training. After training, we examined the factors that predicted holistic processing and overall performance in the holistic processing post-tests. For each trained category, holistic processing could be predicted by experience level, with more experience resulting in more holistic processing. Measures of visual ability did not predict holistic processing, but they did predict overall performance in the matching test. In this study, we found that the factors that best predicted performance and the magnitude of holistic processing were visual ability and experience, respectively.
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