Low-level and high-level processes in apparent motion

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1980 Jul 8;290(1038):137-51. doi: 10.1098/rstb.1980.0087.


When a group of dots within a random-dot array is discontinuously displaced, it appears as a moving region perceptually segregated from its stationary surround. The spastial, temporal and other constraints governing this effect are markedly different from those classically found for the apparent motion of isolated stimulus elements. The random-dot display appears to tap a low-level motion-detecting process, distinct from the more interpretive process elicited by the classical displays. The distinct contributions of these processes can be identified in 'multi-stable' displays which yield alternative percepts of apparent motion depending on which one or both of the processes is activated. Such experiments illustrate the interaction of relatively stimulus-constrained and relatively autonomous processes invisual perception.

MeSH terms

  • Form Perception / physiology
  • Humans
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*