Local or Global?: Attentional Selection of Spatial Frequencies Binds Shapes to Hierarchical Levels
Contrary to the traditional view that shapes and their hierarchical level (local or global) are a priori integrated in perception, recent evidence suggests that the identity of a shape and its level are encoded independently, implying the need for shape-level binding to account for normal perception. What is the binding mechanism in this case? Using hierarchically arranged letter shapes, we obtained evidence that the left hemisphere has a preference for binding shapes to the local level, whereas the right hemisphere has a preference for binding shapes to the global level. More important, binding is modulated by attentional selection of higher or lower spatial frequencies. Attention to higher spatial frequencies facilitated subsequent binding by the left hemisphere of elements to the local level, whereas attention to lower spatial frequencies facilitated subsequent binding by the right hemisphere of elements to the global level.