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Alina Liberman, Anna Kosovicheva, David Whitney; Serial Dependence of Position Perception. Journal of Vision 2014;14(10):1186. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/14.10.1186.
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Observers perceive objects in the world as stable over space and time, even though visual experience with those objects is often discontinuous and distorted due to eye movements, occlusion, and visual noise. How are we able to easily and quickly achieve stable perception in spite of this constantly changing visual input? Prior work has shown that perception of orientation at the present moment is attracted towards attended orientations seen up to 15 seconds back in time (Fischer, Shankey, and Whitney, VSS, 2011), and that this serial dependence effect extends to face identity perception (Liberman, Fischer, and Whitney, VSS, 2012). Serial dependence is therefore a potential mechanism for maintaining perceptual stability of objects in the world. Here, we asked whether the visual system utilizes an object's prior physical location to inform future positions, since this would maximize location stability of an object over time. To test this, we briefly presented subjects with 3-degree grating patches at random angular locations relative to central fixation at an eccentricity of 10 degrees of visual angle. Subjects reported the perceived location of the gratings on each trial by adjusting a cursor's position to match the location of the previous grating. Subjects made consistent errors when reporting the perceived location of the grating on the current trial, mislocalizing it toward the location presented on the previous two trials. Furthermore, this pull in position perception also occurred when a response was not required on the previous trial, indicating this was not a general bias due to subject responses. Therefore, serial dependence does seem to occur for position representations, which could contribute to the stable perception of objects in space.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2014
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