Developmental research on Gestalt laws has previously revealed that, even as young as infancy, we are bound to group visual elements into unitary structures in accordance with a variety of organizational principles. Here, we focus on the developmental trajectory of both connection-based and object-based grouping, and investigate their impact on object formation in participants, aged 9-21 years old (N = 113), using a multiple-object tracking paradigm. Results reveal a main effect of both age and grouping type, indicating that 9- to 21-year-olds are sensitive to both connection-based and object-based grouping interference, and tracking ability increases with age. In addition to its importance for typical development, these results provide an informative baseline to understand clinical aberrations in this regard. Statement of contribution: What is already known on this subject? The origin of the Gestalt principles is still an ongoing debate: Are they innate, learned over time, or both? Developmental research has revealed how each Gestalt principle has its own trajectory and unique relationship to visual experience. Both connectedness and object-based grouping play an important role in object formation during childhood. What does this study add? The study identifies how sensitivity to connectedness and object-based grouping evolves in individuals, aged 9-21 years old. Using multiple-object tracking, results reveal that the ability to track multiple objects increases with age. These results provide an informative baseline to understand clinical aberrations in different types of grouping.

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British Journal of Developmental Psychology
Department of Psychology

van der Hallen, R.E.R, Reusens, J. (Julie), Evers, K. (Kris), de-Wit, L, & Wagemans, J. (2018). Connection-based and object-based grouping in multiple-object tracking: A developmental study. British Journal of Developmental Psychology. doi:10.1111/bjdp.12245