van Lier R, Csathó Á, 2006, "Dancing shapes: A comparison of luminance-induced distortions" Perception 35(6) 775 – 798
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Dancing shapes: A comparison of luminance-induced distortions
Rob van Lier, Árpád Csathó
Received 14 July 2004, in revised form 12 May 2005; published online 10 May 2006
Abstract. We present an illusory display in which a grid of outlined squares is positioned in front of a moving luminance gradient. Observers perceive a strong, illusory, ‘wavelike’ motion of the superimposed squares. We compared luminance effects on dynamic and static aspects of this illusion. The dynamic aspect was investigated by means of a temporal gradient, which induced an illusory pulsing of the outlined squares. The static aspect was investigated in two different ways. In one experiment, the outlined squares were positioned on a spatial gradient, which caused the squares to look like trapezoid shapes. In another experiment, the squares were positioned on different luminance fields, which affected their apparent size. In all experiments, luminance settings were the same, and observers were asked to indicate the direction and strength of the induced distortions. The overall results show large agreements between the dynamic distortion and the first-mentioned static distortion, whereas different tendencies emerged for the second static distortion. In a second series of experiments, we examined these distortions for various ranges of the luminance gradient and for border gradients as well. On the basis of these data, we explored how the directions of the perceived distortions of the single-gradient displays examined in this paper could be related to each other.
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