Elements or Objects? Testing the Movement Filter Hypothesis

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P. McLeod, J. Driver, and J. Crisp (1988) proposed the existence of a movement filter in the human early visual system. This filter preattentively segregates all moving stimuli in the visual field from all stationary stimuli (McLeod et al., 1988) and all stimuli moving in one direction from those moving in another (P. McLeod, J. Driver, Z. Dienes, & J. Crisp, 1991). The primary experimental paradigm that provides evidence for the movement filter is the visual search task. McLeod et al. (1988) demonstrated that a target defined by motion and shape perceptually pops out of a conjunctive display. Four experiments are presented that demonstrate that the output of the movement filter may depend on global characteristics of the display. When a moving element perceptually groups with a static object, preattentive segregation does not occur. However, when the same element does not perceptually group with a static object, preattentive segregation occurs.

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