Axis-alignment affects perceptual grouping: evidence from simultanagnosia

Luc Boutsen, Glyn W. Humphreys

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We examined the effect of grouping by the alignment of implicit axes on the perception of multiple shapes, using a patient (GK) who shows simultanagnosia as part of Blint's syndrome. Five experiments demonstrated that: (1) GK was better able to judge the orientation of a global configuration if the constituent local shapes were aligned with their major axes than if they were aligned with their edges; (2) this axis information was used implicitly, since GK was unable to discriminate between configurations of axis-aligned and edge-aligned shapes; (3) GK's sensitivity to axis-alignment persisted even when the orientations of local shapes were kept constant, indicating some form of cooperative effect between the local elements; (4) axis-alignment of shapes also facilitated his ability to discriminate single-item from multi-item configurations; (5) the effect of axis-alignment could be attributed, at least partially, to the degree to which there was matching between the orientations of local shapes and the global configuration. Taken together, the results suggest that axis-based grouping can support the selection of multiple objects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)655-672
Number of pages18
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999


  • grouping
  • alignment of implicit axes
  • perception
  • multiple shapes
  • simultanagnosia
  • Blint's syndrome
  • axis-based grouping
  • selection of multiple objects


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