The peripheral drift illusion: a motion illusion in the visual periphery

Perception. 1999;28(5):617-21. doi: 10.1068/p2825.


Circularly repeating patches containing sawtooth luminance gradients produce a sensation of motion when viewed in the periphery. Illusory motion is perceived in a dark-to-light direction, but only when one's gaze is directed to different locations around the stimulus, a point outside the display is fixated and the observer blinks, or when the stimulus is sequentially displayed at different locations whilst the observer fixates one point. We propose that the illusion is produced by the interaction of three factors: (i) introducing transients as a result of eye movements or blinks; (ii) differing latencies in the processing of luminance; and (iii) spatiotemporal integration of the differing luminance signals in the periphery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Sensitivity
  • Eye Movements
  • Humans
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Optical Illusions*
  • Visual Fields