Reciprocal Interactions Between Motion and Form Perception

Unknown author (1995-04-21)

The processes underlying the perceptual analysis of visual form are believed to have minimal interaction with those subserving the perception of visual motion (Livingstone and Hubel, 1987; Victor and Conte, 1990). Recent reports of functionally and anatomically segregated parallel streams in the primate visual cortex seem to support this hypothesis (Ungerlieder and Mishkin, 1982; VanEssen and Maunsell, 1983; Shipp and Zeki, 1985; Zeki and Shipp, 1988; De Yoe et al., 1994). Here we present perceptual evidence that is at odds with this view and instead suggests strong symmetric interactions between the form and motion processes. In one direction, we show that the introduction of specific static figural elements, say 'F', in a simple motion sequence biases an observer to perceive a particular motion field, say 'M'. In the reverse direction, the imposition of the same motion field 'M' on the original sequence leads the observer to perceive illusory static figural elements 'F'. A specific implication of these findings concerns the possible existence of (what we call) motion end-stopped units in the primate visual system. Such units might constitute part of a mechanism for signalling subjective occluding contours based on motion-field discontinuities.