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Baby Lab

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Chinese and Americans see opposite apparent motions in a Chinese character.

The perceived direction of apparent motion can be influenced by both "top-down" factors, such as expectation, and by "bottom-up" or stimulus-driven factors, such as grouping. Here the authors report the results of a single experiment that pitted top-down cues against bottom-up cues in an apparent motion sequence over the successive strokes of a Chinese character. Although each stroke was in fact presented all at once, subjects raised in China tended to see apparent motion over a single stroke in the direction it would have taken when drawn by hand, even though bottom-up cues drive a percept of apparent motion in the opposite direction for observers unfamiliar with the Chinese language. There is therefore a learned component to motion perception arising from top-down expectations capable of overriding bottom-up cues to motion. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved)



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