Sensory memory of illusory depth in structure-from-motion

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

Attention, perception & psychophysics, Volume 76, Issue 1, p.123-32 (2014)

Keywords:

multi-stability, sensory memory, structure-from-motion

Abstract:

<p>When multistable displays (stimuli consistent with two or more equally plausible perceptual interpretations) are presented intermittently, their perceptions are stabilized by sensory memory. Independent memory traces are generated not only for different types of multistable displays (Maier, Wilke, Logothetis, &amp; Leopold, Current Biology 13:1076–1085, 2003), but also for different ambiguous features of binocular rivalry (Pearson &amp; Clifford, Journal of Vision 4:196–202, 2004). In the present study, we examined whether a similar independence of sensory memories is observed in structure-from-motion (SFM), a multistable display with two ambiguous properties. In SFM, a 2-D planar motion creates a vivid impression of a rotating 3-D volume. Both the illusory rotation and illusory depth (i.e., how close parts of an object appear to the observer) of an SFM object are ambiguous. We dissociated the sensory memories of these two ambiguous properties by using an intermittent presentation in combination with a forced-ambiguous-switch paradigm (Pastukhov, Vonau, &amp; Braun, PLoS ONE 7:e37734, 2012). We demonstrated that the illusory depth of SFM generates a sensory memory trace that is independent from that of illusory rotation. Despite this independence, the specificities levels of the sensory memories were identical for illusory depth and illusory rotation. The history effect was weakened by a change in the volumetric property of a shape (whether it was a hollow band or a filled drum volume), but not by changes in color or size. We discuss how these new results constrain models of sensory memory and SFM processing.</p>