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Yangqing Xu, Satoru Suzuki, Steven Franconeri; Directing selective attention influences the perception of apparent motion. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):572. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/12.9.572.
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The perception of apparent motion has been linked to attentive tracking (Cavanagh 1992; Verstraten, Cavanagh, & Labianca, 2000; Verstraten & Ashida, 2005). A strong version of this account predicts that the correspondence problem of what went where would be solved by the movement of spatial attention. We tested this prediction by determining whether driving attention in a specific direction causes an ambiguous stimulus to move in that direction. Participants viewed a 2-frame ambiguous apparent motion display that could be seen as two circles rotating clockwise or counter-clockwise. In Experiment 1, we directed observers’ selective attention to various locations by presenting a brief flash cue at one of eight possible locations. We found that the location of the cue systematically biased the perceived direction of rotation, suggesting that observers disambiguated apparent motion by selecting one of the circles in the display and tracking it over time. The results also showed that by default observers selected the top circle in the initial frame. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the location of the initial selection by inserting an identification task that required selective attention. The results showed that manipulating the initially selected object biased the perceived direction of rotation in a systematic way. These results suggest an important role of the distribution of selection in creating complex visual representations by maintaining object identity over time.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012
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