Delays produced by prolonged viewing in the recognition of Kanji characters: Analysis of the "Gestaltzerfall" phenomenon

Yuri Ninose, Jiro Gyoba

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    It is a well-known observation that when a Kanji character is viewed steadily and continuously, the viewer often becomes unable to recognize the Kanji as a whole pattern and it becomes difficult to judge whether or not the Kanji is orthographically correct. Such a phenomenon is called the "Gestaltzerfall" of Kanji characters. In the present study, two experiments were carried out to examine delays in the recognition of test Kanji following 25 s of prolonged viewing of adaptation Kanji, which were comprised of either the same or different parts and structures. When the size of the adaptation Kanji was equal to that of the test Kanji, there were significant delays of more than 50 ms, both when the stimuli were of the same pattern, and when they had the same structure but different components. However, when their sizes were different, delays were found only when the test and the adaptation Kanji were of the same pattern. These results suggest that a Kanji pattern may be internally represented as a whole, independent of its size, while the processing of Kanji structure may be dependent upon its size. Prolonged viewing may produce an adaptation effect specific to such representations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)227-231
    Number of pages5
    JournalShinrigaku Kenkyu
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1996 Aug


    • Gestaltzerfall
    • Kanji recognition
    • Pattern representation
    • Pattern-specific adaptation
    • Prolonged viewing

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Psychology(all)


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