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The consistency of element transformations affects the visibility but not the direction of illusory motion

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For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

Two experiments tested whether the consistency of element transformations affected perceptions of long-range apparent motion. Vertical lines were used to generate apparent motion against one of two different backgrounds, control and depth. Consistency was manipulated by changing the size of the vertical lines. In some displays, the size of the vertical lines remained constant during movement. In other displays, the size of the vertical lines changed during movement. Consistent movement occurred when the size manipulation was in agreement with the type of background used. In Experiment I, points of subject equality for the quality of motion relative to a standard display were measured. These PSEs indicated that consistent movement (e.g., line sizes held constant for control background displays) was more visible than inconsistent movement (e.g., line sizes constant for depth background displays). In Experiment II, a motion competition display was used to measure thresholds for perceived direction of motion. The depth background was used to make motion in one direction more consistent than motion in the opposite direction. However, no significant differences were noted between thresholds obtained in this condition and those obtained in a control condition. Thus the consistency of element transformations affected the quality of motion, but did not affect the perceived direction of motion. These results are consistent with Ullman's (The Interpretation of Visual Motion, MIT Press, 1979) two-component theory of apparent motion.

Affiliations: 1: The Centre For Advanced Study in Theoretical Psychology, The University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2E9, Canada; 2: Centre For Cognitive Science, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 3K7, Canada


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