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Thomas U. Otto, Michael H. Herzog; Transporting features. Journal of Vision 2005;5(8):502. doi: 10.1167/5.8.502.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
One of the major questions in the cognitive and neurosciences is how features of an object are bound together to create a unique percept. Usually, it is assumed that features are perceived at the spatial location where they were displayed. Here, we present a new illusion - repetitive-metacontrast - which demonstrates that features can be transported across space.
A single vernier, offset either to the left or right, is shortly presented and followed by two straight flanking lines. This renders the vernier invisible (classical metacontrast). However, subjects report an illusory offset at the flanking lines which are in fact straight. This feature mislocalization can be carried on if an additional pair of lines follows. Each of these two lines flanks one of the previously displayed lines being one step further away in space. For repetitive sequences of lines, a motion percept is elicited with the individual lines being invisible. We called this masking effect repetitive metacontrast. Surprisingly, the vernier offset is perceived even up to the lines displayed last. If these lines are offset itself, this offset is integrated with the vernier offset. Hence, features presented at different positions can be integrated. This integration does not occur when the continuous motion is disrupted.
We conclude that in repetitive metacontrast features can be freed from their physical carriers and ‘transported’ to other positions in space.
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