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Erich Graf, Wendy Adams, Martin Lages, Pascal Mamassian; Modulating motion-induced-blindness with depth ordering. Journal of Vision 2002;2(7):642. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/2.7.642.
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Purpose: Motion-induced blindness is a striking phenomenon where salient static visual stimuli “disappear” for seconds at a time in the presence of specific moving patterns. The present study investigates whether the phenomenon is due to surface completion in the presentation. Stereo-depth information was added to the motion stimulus to create depth ordering between the static and moving components of the display and dot disappearance was measured.
Methods: A 6°×6° field composed of 49 equally spaced blue cross elements was rotated about its center-point at 30 °/s. Superimposed on the grid were three yellow dots, equally spaced on an imaginary circle with radius 1.75°. Stimulus presentation was dichoptic, using a modified Wheatstone stereoscope. During each 30 second trial subjects viewed a fixation cross in the center of the display and indicated dot disappearance by pressing and holding any of three keys (one per dot) then releasing the key when the dot reappeared. Three conditions were tested: 1) Grid presented stereoscopically in front of the dots, 2) Grid presented at same depth, 3) Grid presented behind the dots.
Results: Results for all subjects indicate an effect of depth ordering. When the grid was presented in front of the yellow dots, the amount of disappearance was greater than when the two were presented on the same depth plane, which was greater than when the grid was presented behind the yellow dots. The monocular information was the same for the non-zero depth conditions. A second experiment showed that an induced Kanizsa surface (four “pac-man” elements) yielded similar results to the grid experiment, while the same elements rotated 180 degrees (no induced surface) did not.
Conclusions: Our data indicate that motion-induced blindness results from surface completion of the moving components of the display. A surface resulting from these moving elements acts as a perceptual occluder, masking the static dots.
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