Dynamical evolution of motion perception

R. Kanai, B.R. Sheth, S. Shimojo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Motion is defined as a sequence of positional changes over time. However, in perception, spatial position and motion dynamically interact with each other. This reciprocal interaction suggests that the perception of a moving object itself may dynamically evolve following the onset of motion. Here, we show evidence that the percept of a moving object systematically changes over time. In experiments, we introduced a transient gap in the motion sequence or a brief change in some feature (e.g., color or shape) of an otherwise smoothly moving target stimulus. Observers were highly sensitive to the gap or transient change if it occurred soon after motion onset (⩽200 ms), but significantly less so if it occurred later (⩾300 ms). Our findings suggest that the moving stimulus is initially perceived as a time series of discrete potentially isolatable frames; later failures to perceive change suggests that over time, the stimulus begins to be perceived as a single, indivisible gestalt integrated over space as well as time, which could well be the signature of an emergent stable motion percept.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)937-945
Number of pages9
JournalVision Research
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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