Detection of change in shape: An advantage for concavities

Elan Barenholtz, Elias H. Cohen, Jacob Feldman, Manish Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Shape representation was studied using a change detection task. Observers viewed two individual shapes in succession, either identical or one a slightly altered version of the other, and reported whether they detected a change. We found a dramatic advantage for concave compared to convex changes of equal magnitude. Observers were more accurate when a concavity along the contour was introduced, or removed, compared to a convexity. This result sheds light on the underlying representation of visual shape, and in particular the central role played by part-boundaries. Moreover, this finding shows how change detection methodology can serve as a useful tool in studying the specific form of visual representations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


  • Change detection
  • Concavity
  • Convexity
  • Part-boundaries
  • Shape


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