Publication date: 2011-01
Volume: 39 Pages: 1606 - 1623
ISSN: 0301-0066, 1468-4233 PMID: 21425700
DOI: 10.1068/p6646
Publisher: Pion Ltd.


Ekroll, Vebjörn
Borzikowsky, Christoph


Science & Technology, Social Sciences, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Ophthalmology, Psychology, Psychology, Experimental, HIGH-LEVEL MOTION, LINE-MOTION, VISUAL-MOTION, PHI MOVEMENT, PERCEPTION, ATTENTION, Cues, Humans, Motion Perception, Optical Illusions, Statistics as Topic, Vision Disparity, Vision, Binocular, Experimental Psychology, 1701 Psychology, 1702 Cognitive Sciences


Classical apparent motion stimuli exhibit an inherent ambiguity with respect to the onsets and offsets of the stimulus elements. Sigman and Rock (1974, Perception 3 9 – 28) presented evidence suggesting that occlusion cues are used to resolve this ambiguity. We present results from experiments designed to further test predictions of this hypothesis. As expected, we found that the apparent motion of a target stimulus is suppressed when a ‘moving’ occluder is positioned such that it rationalises the onsets and offsets of the stimulus elements constituting the target. Somewhat unexpectedly, though, we also observed a slight tendency for motion suppression under conditions where the target was only partially occluded. The expected motion suppression occurred both with solid occluders and purely virtual Kanizsa-like occluders, although it was not always observed in the latter case. Motion suppression was found to occur over a wide range of stimulus onset asynchronies. Finally, we used binocular disparity cues to test the occlusion account of the motion suppression phenomenon against an alternative explanation in terms of attentional factors. The results are in clear favour of the occlusion account.