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Alessio Fracasso, Alfonso Caramazza, David Melcher; Continuous perception of motion and shape across saccadic eye movements. Journal of Vision 2010;10(13):14. doi: 10.1167/10.13.14.
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Although our naïve experience of visual perception is that it is smooth and coherent, the actual input from the retina involves brief and discrete fixations separated by saccadic eye movements. This raises the question of whether our impression of stable and continuous vision is merely an illusion. To test this, we examined whether motion perception can “bridge” a saccade in a two-frame apparent motion display in which the two frames were separated by a saccade. We found that transformational apparent motion, in which an object is seen to change shape and even move in three dimensions during the motion trajectory, continues across saccades. Moreover, participants preferred an interpretation of motion in spatial, rather than retinal, coordinates. The strength of the motion percept depended on the temporal delay between the two motion frames and was sufficient to give rise to a motion-from-shape aftereffect, even when the motion was defined by a second-order shape cue (“phantom transformational apparent motion”). These findings suggest that motion and shape information are integrated across saccades into a single, coherent percept of a moving object.
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