Event-related potential evidence for a dual-locus model of global/local processing

Kirsten A. Dalrymple, Alan Kingstone, Todd C. Handy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We investigated the perceptual time course of global/local processing using event-related potentials (ERPs). Participants discriminated the global or local level of hierarchical letters of different sizes and densities. Participants were faster to discriminate the local level of large/sparse letters and the global level of small/dense letters. This was mirrored in early ERP components: The N1/N2 had smaller peak amplitudes when participants made discriminations at the level that took precedence. Only global discriminations for large/sparse letters led to amplitude enhancement of the later P3 component, suggesting that additional attention-demanding processes are involved in discriminating the global level of these stimuli. Our findings suggest a dual-locus time course for global/local processing: (a) Level precedence occurs early in visual processing; (b) extra processing is required at a later stage, but only for global discriminations of large, sparse, stimuli, which may require additional attentional resources for active grouping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)456-470
Number of pages15
JournalCognitive Neuropsychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Attention
  • Event-related potentials
  • Global/local processing
  • Hierarchical stimuli

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Event-related potential evidence for a dual-locus model of global/local processing'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this