Visual information that reaches the eye is complex and highly multidimensional. How is our visual system capable of extracting meaning from these inputs? In this thesis, we explored the mechanisms behind configural processing, that is, how visual system combines together separate parts of objects (e.g., hands, legs, and body) into whole objects (e.g., a person).
In a series of four experiments, we presented participants with various simple line drawings. Combined, these experiments revealed that a particular area in the human visual cortex, known as the lateral occipital cortex, is involved in the process of putting parts together. Moreover, our results opened a possibility that in contrast to commonly held view, such configural processes might occur very fast in the brain.We therefore conclude this thesis by proposing a conceptual model of rapid visual processing where grouping of parts plays a major role.