Shimojo S, Nakayama K, 1990, "Amodal representation of occluded surfaces: role of invisible stimuli in apparent motion correspondence" Perception 19(3) 285 – 299
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Amodal representation of occluded surfaces: role of invisible stimuli in apparent motion correspondence
Shinsuke Shimojo, Ken Nakayama
Received 20 February 1989, in revised form 12 October 1989
Abstract. A series of demonstrations were created where the perceived depth of targets was controlled by stereoscopic disparity. A closer object (a cloud) was made to jump back and forth horizontally, partially occluding a farther object (a full moon). The more distant moon appeared stationary even though the unoccluded portion of it, a crescent, changed position. Reversal of the relative depth of the moon and cloud gave a totally different percept: the crescent appeared to flip back and forth in the front depth plane. Thus, the otherwise-robust apparent motion of the moon crescents was completely abolished in the cloud-closer case alone. This motion- blocking effect is attributed to the 'amodal presence' of the occluded surface continuing behind the occluding surface.
To measure the effect of this occluded 'invisible' surface quantitatively, a bistable apparent motion display was used (Ramachandran and Anstis 1983a): two small rectangular-shaped targets changed their positions back and forth between two frames, and the disparity of a large centrally positioned rectangle was varied. When the perceived depths supported the possibility of amodal completion behind the large rectangle, increased vertical motion of the targets was found, suggesting that the amodal presence of the targets behind the occluder had effectively changed the center position of the moving targets for purposes of motion correspondence.
Amodal contours are literally 'invisible', yet it is hypothesized that they have a neural representation at sufficiently early stages of visual processing to alter the correspondence solving process for apparent motion.
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