Call for Papers: Special Issue on Ensemble Perception

Due to author requests based on the complications surrounding COVID-19, we are pushing the deadline for this a final time to June 1, 2020.  If you have any questions or concerns regarding deadlines or submissions, please contact Joshua Solomon ( 

Guest Editors:

Joshua Solomon, City, University of London
Shaul Hochstein, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
David Whitney, University of California, Berkeley

Various processes have been suggested enabling Gestalt organization and gist perception.  Recent attention has focused on one such process, ensemble perception, whereby sets of elements are represented by their summary statistics rather than by their individual values, or at least in addition to them. Observers perceive set mean and variability or range (and higher order statistics) for elements perceived simultaneously or sequentially, and they do so either explicitly – when asked to report these values, or implicitly, automatically and on-the-fly – when performing a separate task. Ensemble variables include temporal frequency (i.e., of tones), size (i.e., of visual objects), orientation, brightness, spatial position and speed and direction of motion, as well as facial expression or emotion and gender, object lifelikeness, biological motion of human crowds, gaze direction, and even numerical averaging. 

Range perception is related to outlier detection (as in feature pop-out; Treisman & Gelade, 1980), enabling attention to important features, because the very definition of an outlier depends on perception of set range. Range or variance perception is also related to the precision of feature variable estimation, because this precision depends on the associated range (Miller, 1956). Mean perception is related to the phenomenon of central tendency or contraction to the mean (beginning with Hollingworth, 1910), leading to errors of judgement, shortening the effective range of viewed elements. And, perceiving the mean, when it is not present, is a type of “false memory.” Thus, ensemble representation in terms of summary statistics aids rapid Gestalt gist perception and analysis of complex scenes, but it may also lead to false conclusions concerning items present or absent from the scene.

This special issue aims to highlight and advance contemporary research on human perception and attention relevant to ensemble perception.  We invite contributions of both original research and reviews of research that advance current understanding of scientific issues, methods, findings, or theoretical ideas.  

All submissions will undergo normal, full peer review, maintaining the same high editorial standards for regular submissions to Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics.   If you have any questions about a possible submission, please contact Joshua Solomon (

Submission Deadline: June 1, 2020

Manuscripts should include a cover letter indicating that the submission is for the Ensemble Perception special issue (when selecting manuscript type in the online system, please select Special Issue – Ensemble Perception). Because this is a journal special issue, not an edited book, the deadline is firm; our intention is to publish the special issue 6-8 months after the submission deadline. Revisions invited by the guest editors will be expected within two months of receipt of the editorial decision letter and reviews. 

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