Perceived spatial displacement of motion-defined contours in peripheral vision

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The perceived displacement of motion-defined contours in peripheral vision was examined in four experiments. In Experiment 1, in line with Ramachandran and Anstis' finding [Ramachandran, V. S., & Anstis, S. M. (1990). Illusory displacement of equiluminous kinetic edges. Perception, 19, 611–616], the border between a field of drifting dots and a static dot pattern was apparently displaced in the same direction as the movement of the dots. When a uniform dark area was substituted for the static dots, a similar displacement was found, but this was smaller and statistically insignificant. In Experiment 2, the border between two fields of dots moving in opposite directions was displaced in the direction of motion of the dots in the more eccentric field, so that the location of a boundary defined by a diverging pattern is perceived as more eccentric, and that defined by a converging as less eccentric. Two explanations for this effect (that the displacement reflects a greater weight given to the more eccentric motion, or that the region containing stronger centripetal motion components expands perceptually into that containing centrifugal motion) were tested in Experiment 3, by varying the velocity of the more eccentric region. The results favoured the explanation based on the expansion of an area in centripetal motion. Experiment 4 showed that the difference in perceived location was unlikely to be due to differences in the discriminability of contours in diverging and converging patterns, and confirmed that this effect is due to a difference between centripetal and centrifugal motion rather than motion components in other directions. Our result provides new evidence for a bias towards centripetal motion in human vision, and suggests that the direction of motion-induced displacement of edges is not always in the direction of an adjacent moving pattern.

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