Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience
We investigated the process of amodal completion in a same-different experiment in which test pairs were preceded by sequences of two figures. The first of these could be congruent to a global or local completion of an occluded part in the second figure, or a mosaic interpretation of it. We recorded and analyzed the magnetoencephalogram for the second figures. Compared to control conditions, in which unrelated primes were shown, occlusion and mosaic primes reduced the peak latency and amplitude of neural activity evoked by the occlusion patterns. Compared to occlusion primes, mosaic ones reduced the latency but increased the amplitude of evoked neural activity. Processes relating to a mosaic interpretation of the occlusion pattern, therefore, can dominate in an early stage of visual processing. The results did not provide evidence for the presence of a functional “mosaic stage” in completion per se, but characterize the mosaic interpretation as a qualitatively special one that can rapidly emerge in visual processing when context favors it.