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Ryohei Nakayama, Alex O. Holcombe; A dynamic noise background reveals perceptual motion extrapolation: The twinkle-goes illusion. Journal of Vision 2021;21(11):14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.21.11.14.
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We find that on a dynamic noise background, the perceived disappearance location of a moving object is shifted in the direction of motion. This “twinkle-goes” illusion does not require luminance- or chromaticity-based confusability of the object with the background, or on the amount of background motion energy in the same direction as the object motion. This suggests that the illusion is enabled by the dynamic noise masking the offset transients that otherwise accompany an object's disappearance. While these results are consistent with an anticipatory process that pre-activates positions ahead of the object's current position, additional findings suggest an alternative account: a continuation of attentional tracking after the object disappears. First, the shift increased with speed until over 1.2 revolutions per second (rps), nearing the attentional tracking limit. Second, the shift was greatly reduced when attention was divided between two moving objects. Finally, the illusion was associated with a delay in simple reaction time to the disappearance of the object. We propose that in the absence of offset transients, attentional tracking keeps moving for several tens of milliseconds after the target disappearance, and this causes one to hallucinate a moving object at the position of attention.
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