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Jianrui Huang, Zhongbin Su, Xiaolin Zhou; Revisiting the color-motion asynchrony. Journal of Vision 2023;23(1):6. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/jov.23.1.6.
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Color-motion asynchrony (CMA) refers to an illusion in which we perceive a change in color earlier than a change in motion direction when the two changes occur simultaneously. This phenomenon may indicate that color is processed earlier than motion in the visual system. However, the very existence of CMA is under question owing to contradictory findings and methodological deficits in previous studies. Here, we used both the motion and color correspondence tasks (experiment 1) and the temporal order judgment (TOJ) task (experiment 2) to re-examine CMA. Colored dots moved in one direction and changed their color/direction at some time, whereas the relative timing between color and direction changes varied across trials. In the correspondence task, participants reported which direction/color of dots with a particular color/direction lasted longer, the one before or after the change? In the TOJ task, participants reported whether the change in color or the change in motion direction occurred earlier. Results indicated that participants perceived the change in color earlier than the change in motion direction in either the motion or color correspondence task, with a stronger asynchrony in the former. In the TOJ task, although participants showed no difference in psychophysical measures, they responded faster when the change in color occurred before (versus after) the change in direction. Drift-diffusion modeling (DDM) revealed a lower decision threshold when the change in color occurred before (versus after) the change in direction, indicating less cautiousness was excised in judgment when the color changed earlier. These results confirmed the veracity of CMA in different tasks and point to the viability of analyzing response times in traditional psychophysical studies.
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