Consciousness and Cognition vol:12 issue:2 pages:279-297
An object in continuous motion is perceived ahead of the briefly flashed object, although the two images are physically aligned (Nijhawan, 1994), the phenomenon called flash-lag effect. Flash-lag effects have been found also with other continuously changing features such as color, pattern entropy, and brightness (Sheth, Nijhawan, & Shimojo, 2000) as well as with streamed pre- and post-target input without any change of the feature values of streaming items in feature space (Bachmann & Poder, 2001 a, 2001b). We interpret all instances of the flash-lag as a consequence of a more fundamental property of conscious perception in general: acceleration of the speed with which samples of perceptual information become represented in explicit format immediately after the stimulation onset. Decreased visual latency of the samples of stimulus information from the streamed input leads to the relative perceptual lag for the separately flashed stimulus because it is not preceded by adjacent sensory input that would have accelerated its perception. Experimental support for the notion of perceptual acceleration is reviewed. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.