Abstract

Phenomenal transparency is commonly studied by using a stimulus configuration introduced by Metelli: a bipartite patch, divided into equal left and right halves is overlaid with a smaller, concentric bipartite patch, divided along the same line. Observers are instructed to report either a transparent patch over an opaque bipartite field or a mosaic of four opaque patches. We show theoretically and empirically that these are only two of five generic perceptual categories, namely, transparent patch, transparent annulus (hole), mosaic, partial transparency, and multiple transparency (ambiguous) cases. Thus Gestalt factors complicate the interpretation “phenomenal transparency.” We propose a framework that avoids this complication. There is excellent agreement between predictions and results.

© 2008 Optical Society of America

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