Van de Geer, J. P., & Levelt, W. J. M. (1963). Detection of visual patterns disturbed by noise: An exploratory study. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 15, 192-204. doi:10.1080/17470216308416324.
An introductory study of the perception of stochastically specified events is reported. The initial problem was to determine whether the perceiver can split visual input data of this kind into random and determined components. The inability of subjects to do so with the stimulus material used (a filmlike sequence of dot patterns), led to the more general question of how subjects code this kind of visual material. To meet the difficulty of defining the subjects' responses, two experiments were designed. In both, patterns were presented as a rapid sequence of dots on a screen. The patterns were more or less disturbed by “noise,” i.e. the dots did not appear exactly at their proper places. In the first experiment the response was a rating on a semantic scale, in the second an identification from among a set of alternative patterns. The results of these experiments give some insight in the coding systems adopted by the subjects. First, noise appears to be detrimental to pattern recognition, especially to patterns with little spread. Second, this shows connections with the factors obtained from analysis of the semantic ratings, e.g. easily disturbed patterns show a large drop in the semantic regularity factor, when only a little noise is added.