Laboratoire Psychologie de la Perception Institut Neurosciences Cognition Université Paris Descartes Centre National de Recherche Scientifique
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Backward position shift in apparent motion.

We investigated the perceived position of visual targets in apparent motion. A disc moved horizontally through three positions from -10 to +10 in the far periphery (20 above fixation), generating a compelling impression of apparent motion. In the first experiment, observers compared the position of the middle of the three discs toa subsequently presented reference. Unexpectedly, observers judged its position to be shifted backward, in the direction opposite that of the motion. We then tested the middle disc in sequences of 3, 5, and 7 discs, each covering the same spatial and temporal extents (similar speeds). The backwards shift was only found for the three-disc sequence. With the extra discs approaching more continuous motion, the perceived shift was in the same direction as the apparent motion. Finally, using a localization task with constant static references, we measured the position shifts of all the disc locations for two-disc, three-disc and four-disc apparent motion sequences. The backward shift was found for the second location of all sequences. We suggest that the backward shift of the second element along an apparent motion path is due to an attraction effect induced by the initial point of the motion.