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Local figure-ground cues are valid for natural images.

  • Author(s): Fowlkes, Charless C
  • Martin, David R
  • Malik, Jitendra
  • et al.
Abstract

Figure-ground organization refers to the visual perception that a contour separating two regions belongs to one of the regions. Recent studies have found neural correlates of figure-ground assignment in V2 as early as 10-25 ms after response onset, providing strong support for the role of local bottom-up processing. How much information about figure-ground assignment is available from locally computed cues? Using a large collection of natural images, in which neighboring regions were assigned a figure-ground relation by human observers, we quantified the extent to which figural regions locally tend to be smaller, more convex, and lie below ground regions. Our results suggest that these Gestalt cues are ecologically valid, and we quantify their relative power. We have also developed a simple bottom-up computational model of figure-ground assignment that takes image contours as input. Using parameters fit to natural image statistics, the model is capable of matching human-level performance when scene context limited.

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