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Geoffrey K. Gallagher, Christopher P. Benton; Stimulus uncertainty predicts serial dependence in orientation judgements. Journal of Vision 2022;22(1):6. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.22.1.6.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
How is what you see influenced by what you saw? The visual system may use recent perception to inform responses to current stimuli. This can cause the perception of current stimuli to be attracted toward previous observations, an effect termed serial dependence. This misperception might well be useful in a noisy visual environment, where minor image distortions over time may not actually represent meaningful change. Previous work has suggested that Bayesian perceptual inference may underlie serial dependence. For this to be true, the relative uncertainty associated with both prior and current sensory input should be taken into account. In an experiment manipulating the level of noise present in orientation stimuli, we found an effect of current stimulus uncertainty on serial dependence. We found no good evidence for an effect of previous stimulus uncertainty. Our results provide only partial evidence for the Bayesian interpretation of serial dependence. Non-Bayesian models may provide a better account of the phenomenon.
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