Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary
Pessoa et al.: Perceptual completion

Area, surface, and contour: Psychophysical correlates of three classes of pictorial completion

Birgitta Dresp a1
a1 Laboratoire de Psychophysique Sensorielle, EP 618 du C.N.R.S., Université Louis Pasteur, 67000 Strasbourg, France


A simple working taxonomy with three classes of pictorial completion is proposed as an alternative to Pessoa et al.'s classification: area, surface, and contour completion. The classification is based on psychophysical evidence, not on the different phenomenal attributes of the stimuli, showing that pictorial completion is likely to involve mechanistic interactions in the visual system at different levels of processing. Whether the concept of “filling-in” is an appropriate metaphor for the visual mechanisms that may underlie perceptual completion is questioned.