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Perceived motion in complementary afterimages: verification of a neural network theory

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

Steady fixation of a regular pattern like a bar grating or concentric circles leads to a complementary afterimage at pattern offset. The afterimage has the appearance of shimmering lines that are locally orthogonal to the orientations of the inducing image. Additionally, the afterimage includes motion running parallel to the orientation of the afterimage lines. We argue that this afterimage motion supports the existence of a cue to motion that is based on the spatial organization of oriented responses. This cue was previously proposed after analysis of a neural network model of visual perception. We test predictions of the model on various types of complementary afterimage inducing stimuli. When a contrast or size gradient is included in the inducing image, the afterimage motion moves toward the higher part of the gradient, in agreement with the model. Implications of this cue for computational and neurophysiological theories of motion perception are discussed.

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Affiliations: 1: Purdue University, Department of Psychological Sciences, 1364 Psychological Sciences Building, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1364, USA


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