The ties that keep us bound: Top-down influences on the persistence of shape-from-motion☆

Consciousness and Cognition 15 (2):475-483 (2006)
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The phenomenon of perceptual persistence after the motion stops in shape-from-motion displays was used to study the influence of prior knowledge on the maintenance of a percept in awareness. In SFM displays an object composed of discontinuous line segments are embedded in a background of randomly oriented lines. The object only becomes perceptible when the line segments that compose the object and the lines that compose the background move in counterphase. Critically, once the movement of the line segments stops, the percept of the object persists for a short period of time. In the present study, perceptual persistence for digits exceeded that reported for nonsense shapes composed of the same line segments. This result is taken as evidence that the processes involved in the persistence of SFM, and therefore sustained perception, are sensitive to top-down influences



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