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Teresa Stephens, Cathleen M. Moore; Using surface features to disambiguate what went where in the perception of causality. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):818. doi: 10.1167/9.8.818.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
It has been hypothesized that the representation of object persistence is determined entirely on the basis of spatiotemporal continuity, and that surface features play no role in this aspect of representing objects as persisting over time and space (e.g., Scholl, 2007). A recent phenomenon reported by Scholl and Nakayama (2002) in the context of studying the perception of causality is consistent with this hypothesis. A red disc, for example, moves across the screen and completely overlaps a second stationary green disc. A green disc then continues on while a red stationary disc remains at the point of overlap. Participants tend to perceive a single moving disc, passing over a stationary disc, regardless of the color change that this percept implies. A natural alternative perception might be that the red disc “launches” the green disc into motion. Here we show that this “passing” perception is stronger when the two discs are identical in color than when they are differently colored. If surface features were irrelevant in determining what went where in this example of passing rather than causal launching, the effect should have been unaffected by this manipulation. We suggest that although spatiotemporal continuity may play a primary role in determining object persistence, surface features play a role as well.
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