The Role of Surface Information in Object Recognition: Studies of a Visual Form Agnosic and Normal Subjects Academic Article uri icon


  • Three experiments were conducted to explore the role of colour and other surface properties in object recognition. The effects of manipulating the availability of surface-based information on object naming in a patient with visual form agnosia and in two age-matched control subjects were examined in experiment 1. The objects were presented under seven different viewing conditions ranging from a full view of the actual objects to line drawings of those same objects. The presence of colour and other surface properties aided the recognition of natural objects such as fruits and vegetables in both the patient and the control subjects. Experiment 2 was focused on four of the critical viewing conditions used in experiment 1 but with a large sample of normal subjects. As in experiment 1, it was found that surface properties, particularly colour, aided the naming of natural objects. The presence of colour did not facilitate the naming of manufactured objects. Experiment 3 was focused on possible ways by which colour could assist in the recognition of natural objects and it was found that object naming was facilitated only if the objects were presented in their usual colour. The results of the experiments show that colour does improve recognition for some types of objects and that the improvement occurs at a high level of visual analysis.

publication date

  • December 1994