Fröhlich effect and delays of visual attention

J Vis. 2017 Jan 1;17(1):3. doi: 10.1167/17.1.3.


In the Fröhlich effect, the initial position of an object that suddenly appears in motion is perceived as being shifted in the direction of its motion. Here we establish that this shift is not an obligatory consequence of motion, but it is driven by focused attention. In Experiment 1 using different cueing conditions, we found that invalid cues produced larger perceptual shifts, although the Fröhlich effect was still present for valid and neutral cues. These results support Müsseler and Aschersleben's (1998) proposal that the Fröhlich effect is the result of the time it takes to shift focal attention to the moving stimulus. In Experiment 2 we found that the Fröhlich effect increased when the valid cue arrived more than 100 ms after the start of motion, suggesting again that a delay in attention's arrival shifted the location of the perceived motion onset. In Experiment 3 we compare the motion-induced shifts when the subjects attended to a set of moving stimuli as a group and when they attended to an orientation singleton. We showed that Fröhlich effect was only present when the target was individuated and disappeared when the stimulus was perceived globally. We conclude that the Fröhlich effect is a predictive spatial shift produced and modulated by focal attention.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Cues*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Reaction Time / physiology*
  • Young Adult