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Palmer and Rock proposed that uniform connectedness (UC) occurs prior to classical Gestalt factors to define the primitive units for visual perception. Han, Humphreys and Chen, however, found that grouping by proximity can take place as quickly as that based on UC in a letter discrimination task. The present study employed a letter detection task to examine the relationship between UC and proximity grouping in 3 experiments. We showed that reaction times to targets defined by proximity or UC were equally fast when one or two global objects were presented in the visual field. However, as the number of global objects was increased, responses were faster to targets defined by UC than to targets defined by proximity. In addition, the advantage of UC over proximity was not affected by the space between global objects. The results suggest that UC was more effective than proximity in forming perceptual units under multiple object conditions. Possible reasons for this finding are discussed.

Original publication




Journal article


Sci China C Life Sci

Publication Date





113 - 126