The Scene-Object Link: Investigating how scene context does and does not influence processing

When and Where

Wednesday, January 31, 2018 12:15 pm to 1:30 pm
Room 3130, Sidney Smith Hall, 100 St. George Street


MONICA CASTELHANO, Queen's University


Abstract: The relationship between objects and scenes has been well-established, but mechanism by which it is established and how it influences processing remains poorly understood. In this talk, I will explore how the scene-object link affects the processing of object information, when it does not, and examine the genesis of this link within a new theoretically framework.

First, we examined the influence of scene context on the extraction of visual information. Borrowing from the reading literature, we examine early perceptual processing of objects within context and find that the context does not amplify our ability to recognize objects. Second, we investigated its effect on visual search and examined the distinction between the spatial and semantic contribution to visual search. We found that these two sources are not nested as many believe, but rather are independent contributors to search performance. Lastly, we examine a possible underlying principle behind how objects are organized across a scene: object function. Borrowing from the developmental literature, we investigated how knowing object function impacts the acquisition of the scene-object link.  

Across these experiments we show that there is more to the relationship between objects and scenes than the semantic link. Understanding the mechanisms will allow us to further elucidate the effects of context more generally and allow us to understand how this information is formed initially.

Watch video recording of Monica Castelhano talk at

For further information please contact Amy Finn ( or Michael Mack at

If you require an accommodation due to a disability, please contact the event coordinator OR email five days prior to the event. We will work with you to make appropriate arrangements.