Navon figure

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A Navon figure is made of a larger recognisable shape, such as a letter, composed of copies of a smaller different shape. Navon figures are used in tests of visual neglect.[1] David Navon's research demonstrated that global features are perceived more quickly than local features.[2] Jules Davidoff also performed research, but in a remote culture, finding opposite results; the participants more readily identified the local features.[3] Patients with Simultanagnosia have difficulty identifying global features, and when presented with a Navon figure will identify only the local features.[4] In a recent study comparing global-local processing in different races,[5] it was found that East Asians demonstrated significantly stronger global processing than Caucasians.


A letter T (global) composed of letter S

 SS        SSSSS        SS

The Navon effect[edit]

Reading Navon figures has been found to affect a range of tasks. It has been shown that just 5 minutes reading out the small letters of Navon figures has a detrimental effect on face recognition[6] although this effect is short lived.[7] Reading the large letter appears to have no effect. Similar detrimental effects of reading the small letters have been shown for wine tasting[8] and golf performance.[9] Explanations for these findings have been based on global precedence.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Assessing Attention in Unilateral Neglect 
  2. ^ Navon, 1977 cited in (1)
  3. ^ Davidoff, J.; E. Fonteneau; J. Fagot (Sep 2008). "Local and global processing: Observations from a remote culture". Cognition 108 (3): 702–709. doi:10.1016/j.cognition.2008.06.004. 
  4. ^ Simultanagnosia, 2009 
  5. ^ McKone, E.; Davies, A.A.; Fernando, D.; Aalders, R.; Leung, H.; Wickramariyaratne, T.; Platow, M.J. (July 2010). "Asia has the global advantage: Race and visual attention.". Vision Research 50 (16): 1540–1549. doi:10.1016/j.visres.2010.05.010. 
  6. ^ Macrae, C. N., & Lewis, H. L. (2002). Do I know you? Processing orientation and face recognition. Psychological Science, 13(2), 194-196.
  7. ^ Hills, P.J. & Lewis, M.B. (2007). Temporal limitation of Navon effect on face recognition. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 104, 501-509.
  8. ^ Lewis, M.B., Seeley, J. & Miles, C. (2009). Processing Navon letters can make wine taste different. Perception, 38, 1341-1346.
  9. ^ Lewis, M.B. & Dawkins, G. (in press). Local Navon letter processing affects skilled behaviour: A golf-putting experiment. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review.
  • Nature Neuroscience 9, 740 - 742 (2006) Published online: 14 May 2006 | doi:10.1038/nn1709
  • David Navon, Forest before trees: The precedence of global features in visual perception Cognitive Psychology Volume 9, Issue 3, July 1977, Pages 353-383