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When motion is not perceived: Evidence from adaptation and dynamical stability

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

Adaptation was used to probe the perceiver's activation state when either motion or nonmotion percepts are formed for bistable, single-element apparent motion stimuli. Although adaptation was not observed in every instance, when it was observed its effect was to increase the probability of both motion-to-nonmotion and nonmotion-to-motion switches, the time scale of adaptation corresponding to neurophysiological observations for directionally selective cortical cells (Giaschi et al. 1993). This susceptibility to de-stabilizing adaptation effects indicated that the nonmotion percept was not the result of inadequate stimulation producing subthreshold levels of motion detector activation; if that were the case, activation-dependent adaptation would have decreased the nonmotion-to-motion switching rate by reducing activation further below threshold. Above-threshold activation levels are therefore associated with both nonmotion and motion perceptual states, and the failure to perceive motion despite the presence of adequate motion detector stimulation can be attributed to inhibitory competition between detectors activated by motion-specifying stimulus information and detectors activated to similar levels by motion-independent stimulus information, consistent with the dynamical quality of single-element apparent motion.


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