Loss of vision during the retinal stabilization of letters

Richard Topolski, Albrecht Werner Inhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Upper- and lower-case letters of the alphabet were stabilized until loss of vision occurred. Loss of straight-line visibility was the most frequently reported perceptual event. Occasionally, features of letters separated spatially before their loss of visibility. In both instances, loss of visibility often resulted in the perception of a less complex letter. Confidence ratings for each loss of letter visibility indicated that participants were quite certain about perceived fragmentations. In a control experiment, participants were asked to guess how letters would fragment during stabilization. Again, loss of line visibility was the most frequently reported event. However, spatial separation of features was rarely predicted and complex letters were not predicted to fragment into simpler letter forms. Furthermore, the confidence in predicted fragmentation was quite low. These results are consistent with the view that losses of visibility during retinal stabilization constitute a distinct perceptual experience. Fragmentations appear to be determined by the availability of less complex letter forms and by the loss of subletter information, consisting of letter features and information specifying spatial configurations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-162
Number of pages8
JournalPsychological Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 1 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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