Attention updates the perceived position of moving objects.
ABSTRACT: The information used by conscious perception may differ from that which drives certain actions. A dramatic illusion caused by an object's internal texture motion has been put forward as one example. The motion causes an illusory position shift that accumulates over seconds into a large effect, but targeting of the grating for a saccade (a rapid eye movement) is not affected by this illusion. While this has been described as a dissociation between perception and action, an alternative explanation is that rather than saccade targeting having privileged access to the correct position, a shift of attention that precedes saccades resets the accumulated illusory position shift to zero. In support of this possibility, we found that the accumulation of illusory position shift can be reset by transients near the moving object, creating an impression of the object returning to near its actual position. Repetitive luminance changes of the object also resulted in reset of the accumulation, but less so when attention to the object was reduced by a concurrent digit identification task. Finally, judgments of the object's positions around the time of saccade onset reflected the veridical rather than the illusory position. These results suggest that attentional shifts, including those preceding saccades, can update the perceived position of moving objects and mediate the previously reported dissociation between conscious perception and saccades.
Project description:When the inside texture of a moving object moves, the perceived motion of the object is often distorted toward the direction of the texture's motion (motion-induced position shift), and such perceptual distortion accumulates while the object is watched, causing what is known as the curveball illusion. In a recent study, however, the accumulation of the position error was not observed in saccadic eye movements. Here, we examined whether the position of the illusory object is represented independently in the perceptual and saccadic systems. In the experiments, the stimulus of the curveball illusion was adopted to examine the temporal change in the position representation for saccadic eye movements and for perception by varying the elapsed time from the input of visual information to saccade onset and perceptual judgment, respectively. The results showed that the temporal accumulation of the motion-induced position shift is observed not only in perception but also in saccadic eye movements. In the saccade tasks, the landing positions of saccades gradually shifted to the illusory perceived position as the elapsed time from the target offset to the saccade "go" signal increased. Furthermore, in the perception task, shortening the time between the target offset and the perceptual judgment reduced the size of the illusion effect. Therefore, these results argue against the idea of dissociation between saccadic and perceptual localization of a moving object suggested in the previous study, in which saccades were measured in a rushed way while perceptual responses were measured without time constraint. Instead, the similar temporal trends of these effects imply a common or similar target representation for perception and eye movements which dynamically changes over the course of evidence accumulation.
Project description:Saccades are made thousands of times a day and are the principal means of localizing objects in our environment. However, the saccade system faces the challenge of accurately localizing objects as they are constantly moving relative to the eye and head. Any delays in processing could cause errors in saccadic localization. To compensate for these delays, the saccade system might use one or more sources of information to predict future target locations, including changes in position of the object over time, or its motion. Another possibility is that motion influences the represented position of the object for saccadic targeting, without requiring an actual change in target position. We tested whether the saccade system can use motion-induced position shifts to update the represented spatial location of a saccade target, by using static drifting Gabor patches with either a soft or a hard aperture as saccade targets. In both conditions, the aperture always remained at a fixed retinal location. The soft aperture Gabor patch resulted in an illusory position shift, whereas the hard aperture stimulus maintained the motion signals but resulted in a smaller illusory position shift. Thus, motion energy and target location were equated, but a position shift was generated in only one condition. We measured saccadic localization of these targets and found that saccades were indeed shifted, but only with a soft-aperture Gabor patch. Our results suggest that motion shifts the programmed locations of saccade targets, and this remapped location guides saccadic localization.
Project description:Brightness--the perception of an object's luminance--arises from complex and poorly understood interactions at several levels of processing. It is well known that the brightness of an object depends on its spatial context, which can include perceptual organization, scene interpretation, three-dimensional interpretation, shadows, and other high-level percepts. Here we present a new class of illusion in which temporal relations with spatially neighbouring objects can modulate a target object's brightness. When compared with a nearby patch of constant luminance, a brief flash appears brighter with increasing onset asynchrony. Simultaneous contrast, retinal effects, masking, apparent motion and attentional effects cannot account for this illusory enhancement of brightness. This temporal context effect indicates that two parallel streams--one adapting and one non-adapting--encode brightness in the visual cortex.
Project description:As the neural representation of visual information is initially coded in retinotopic coordinates, eye movements (saccades) pose a major problem for visual stability. If no visual information were maintained across saccades, retinotopic representations would have to be rebuilt after each saccade. It is currently strongly debated what kind of information (if any at all) is accumulated across saccades, and when this information becomes available after a saccade. Here, we use a motion illusion to examine the accumulation of visual information across saccades. In this illusion, an annulus with a random texture slowly rotates, and is then replaced with a second texture (motion transient). With increasing rotation durations, observers consistently perceive the transient as large rotational jumps in the direction opposite to rotation direction (backward jumps). We first show that accumulated motion information is updated spatiotopically across saccades. Then, we show that this accumulated information is readily available after a saccade, immediately biasing postsaccadic perception. The current findings suggest that presaccadic information is used to facilitate postsaccadic perception and are in support of a forward model of transsaccadic perception, aiming at anticipating the consequences of eye movements and operating within the narrow perisaccadic time window.
Project description:It is known that the perceived size of an afterimage is modulated by the perceived distance between the observer and the depth plane on which the afterimage is projected (Emmert's law). Illusions like Ponzo demonstrate that illusory distance induced by depth cues can also affect the perceived size of an object. In this study, we report that the illusory distance not only modulates the perceived size of object's afterimage during the presence of the depth cues, but the modulation persists after the disappearance of the depth cues. We used an adapted version of the classic Ponzo illusion. Illusory depth perception was induced by linear perspective cues with two tilted lines converging at the upper boundary of the display. Two horizontal bars were placed between the two lines, resulting in a percept of the upper bar to be farther away than the lower bar. Observers were instructed to make judgment about the relative size of the afterimage of the lower and the upper bars after adaptation. When the perspective cues and the bars were static, the illusory effect of the Ponzo afterimage is consistent with that of the traditional size-distance illusion. When the perspective cues were flickering and the bars were static, only the afterimage of the latter was perceived, yet still a considerable amount of the illusory effect was perceived. The results could not be explained by memory of a prejudgment of the bar length during the adaptation phase. The findings suggest that cooccurrences of depth cues and object may link a depth marker for the object, so that the perceived size of the object or its afterimage is modulated by feedback of depth information from higher-level visual cortex even when there is no depth cues directly available on the retinal level.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>It is known that subjective contours are perceived even when a figure involves motion. However, whether this includes the perception of rigidity or deformation of an illusory surface remains unknown. In particular, since most visual stimuli used in previous studies were generated in order to induce illusory rigid objects, the potential perception of material properties such as rigidity or elasticity in these illusory surfaces has not been examined. Here, we elucidate whether the magnitude of phase difference in oscillation influences the visual impressions of an object's elasticity (Experiment 1) and identify whether such elasticity perceptions are accompanied by the shape of the subjective contours, which can be assumed to be strongly correlated with the perception of rigidity (Experiment 2).<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>In Experiment 1, the phase differences in the oscillating motion of inducers were controlled to investigate whether they influenced the visual impression of an illusory object's elasticity. The results demonstrated that the impression of the elasticity of an illusory surface with subjective contours was systematically flipped with the degree of phase difference. In Experiment 2, we examined whether the subjective contours of a perceived object appeared linear or curved using multi-dimensional scaling analysis. The results indicated that the contours of a moving illusory object were perceived as more curved than linear in all phase-difference conditions.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>These findings suggest that the phase difference in an object's motion is a significant factor in the material perception of motion-related elasticity.
Project description:Despite growing evidence for perceptual interactions between motion and position, no unifying framework exists to account for these two key features of our visual experience. We show that percepts of both object position and motion derive from a common object-tracking system--a system that optimally integrates sensory signals with a realistic model of motion dynamics, effectively inferring their generative causes. The object-tracking model provides an excellent fit to both position and motion judgments in simple stimuli. With no changes in model parameters, the same model also accounts for subjects' novel illusory percepts in more complex moving stimuli. The resulting framework is characterized by a strong bidirectional coupling between position and motion estimates and provides a rational, unifying account of a number of motion and position phenomena that are currently thought to arise from independent mechanisms. This includes motion-induced shifts in perceived position, perceptual slow-speed biases, slowing of motions shown in visual periphery, and the well-known curveball illusion. These results reveal that motion perception cannot be isolated from position signals. Even in the simplest displays with no changes in object position, our perception is driven by the output of an object-tracking system that rationally infers different generative causes of motion signals. Taken together, we show that object tracking plays a fundamental role in perception of visual motion and position.
Project description:Perception of a stable visual world despite eye motion requires integration of visual information across saccadic eye movements. To investigate how the visual system deals with localization of moving visual stimuli across saccades, we observed spatiotemporal changes of receptive fields (RFs) of motion-sensitive neurons across periods of saccades in the middle temporal (MT) and medial superior temporal (MST) areas. We found that the location of the RFs moved with shifts of eye position due to saccades, indicating that motion-sensitive neurons in both areas have retinotopic RFs across saccades. Different characteristic responses emerged when the moving visual stimulus was turned off before the saccades. For MT neurons, virtually no response was observed after the saccade, suggesting that the responses of these neurons simply reflect the reafferent visual information. In contrast, most MST neurons increased their firing rates when a saccade brought the location of the visual stimulus into their RFs, where the visual stimulus itself no longer existed. These findings suggest that the responses of such MST neurons after saccades were evoked by a memory of the stimulus that had preexisted in the postsaccadic RFs ("memory remapping"). A delayed-saccade paradigm further revealed that memory remapping in MST was linked to the saccade itself, rather than to a shift in attention. Thus, the visual motion information across saccades was integrated in spatiotopic coordinates and represented in the activity of MST neurons. This is likely to contribute to the perception of a stable visual world in the presence of eye movements.
Project description:Curvature is a highly informative visual cue for shape perception and object recognition. We introduce a novel illusion-the Lemon Illusion-in which subtle illusory curvature is perceived along contour regions that are devoid of physical curvature. We offer several perceptual demonstrations and observations that lead us to conclude that the Lemon Illusion is an instance of a more general illusory curvature phenomenon, one in which the presence of contour curvature discontinuities lead to the erroneous extension of perceived curvature. We propose that this erroneous extension of perceived curvature results from the interaction of neural mechanisms that operate on spatially local contour curvature signals with higher-tier mechanisms that serve to establish more global representations of object shape. Our observations suggest that the Lemon Illusion stems from discontinuous curvature transitions between rectilinear and curved contour segments. However, the presence of curvature discontinuities is not sufficient to produce the Lemon Illusion, and the minimal conditions necessary to elicit this subtle and insidious illusion are difficult to pin down.
Project description:Across saccades, small displacements of a visual target are harder to detect and their directions more difficult to discriminate than during steady fixation. Prominent theories of this effect, known as saccadic suppression of displacement, propose that it is due to a bias to assume object stability across saccades. Recent studies comparing the saccadic effect to masking effects suggest that suppression of displacement is not saccade-specific. Further evidence for this account is presented from two experiments where participants judged the size of displacements on a continuous scale in saccade and mask conditions, with and without blanking. Saccades and masks both reduced the proportion of correctly perceived displacements and increased the proportion of missed displacements. Blanking improved performance in both conditions by reducing the proportion of missed displacements. Thus, if suppression of displacement reflects a bias for stability, it is not a saccade-specific bias, but a more general stability assumption revealed under conditions of impoverished vision. Specifically, I discuss the potentially decisive role of motion or other transient signals for displacement perception. Without transients or motion, the quality of relative position signals is poor, and saccadic and mask-induced suppression of displacement reflects performance when the decision has to be made on these signals alone. Blanking may improve those position signals by providing a transient onset or a longer time to encode the pre-saccadic target position.