Curran W, Braddick O J, Atkinson J, Wattam-Bell J, Andrew R, 1998, "Young infants' perception of moving illusory contours is influenced by contour velocity" Perception 27 ECVP Abstract Supplement
Young infants' perception of moving illusory contours is influenced by contour velocity
W Curran, O J Braddick, J Atkinson, J Wattam-Bell, R Andrew
We investigated infants' ability to perceive illusory contours, where no mean luminance contrast exists, generated by aligning line terminators. Stimuli comprised black and white sinusoidal lines on a grey background; aligned terminators defined an illusory contour on one side of the display, while on the other side of the display the sinusoidal lines were broken by non-aligned terminators. The illusory contour was presented oscillating horizontally at 6.6 deg s-1; the equivalent motion on the other side gives the appearance of the individual lines growing and shrinking. Infants from three age groups (8 - 10, 12 - 14, and 20 - 22 weeks) were tested by forced-choice preferential looking. A control condition showed a significant preference for a moving luminance-defined contour over individual terminator motions. All but the 8 - 10-week olds exhibited significant preferential looking behaviour in favour of the illusory contour side of the stimulus. The speed used for the illusory contour is below the narrow velocity range over which 10-week olds can discriminate motion direction (Wattam-Bell, 1996 Vision Research 36 1671 - 1677). To test whether the change in illusory-contour perception with age is a consequence of maturing motion-processing mechanisms, we tested 8 - 10-week olds with the same stimuli at a higher velocity (9.5 deg s-1) and found a preference for the illusory contour. Together these results suggest that perception of dynamic illusory contours can be demonstrated in 2 - 5-month olds, provided the development of motion-processing mechanisms is taken into account.
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