The Magnocellular visual pathway and the flash-lag illusion
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Determining how the visual system locates moving stimuli continues to be an experimental and theoretical challenge. By making a moving visual stimulus equiluminant with its background, and immersing it in luminance noise, the spatial lead it normal enjoys over a flashed stimulus (the flash-lag illusion) was completely eliminated (the illusion was actually reversed for 6 out of 11 participants). As this manipulation is typically used to reduce Magnocellular (M) visual pathway processing, this is strong evidence that processing in this pathway advances the moving stimulus' perceived position. However, when the flashed stimulus was also made equiluminant in luminance noise, the illusion reappeared, indicating that M pathway processing contributed to its perception too. The presence of the illusion when both stimuli were equiluminant in luminance noise indicates that the illusion can be generated in the absence of M cell activation. To explicate the result with moving stimuli, we displayed two adjacent moving stimuli, one luminance-modulated, and the other equiluminant in noise. The latter was perceived to significantly lag the former (an 'M-P-Hess' illusion), and 39% of the difference in flash-lag illusions, with comparable moving stimulus contrasts, could be accounted for by this illusion.
Journal of Vision
© The Author(s). 2010 ARVO
Optometry and Ophthalmology not elsewhere classified