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Wakes and spokes: New motion-induced brightness illusions.


Tse,  PU
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Holcombe, A., Macknik SL, Intriligator J, Seiffert, A., & Tse, P. (1999). Wakes and spokes: New motion-induced brightness illusions. Perception, 28, 1231-1242.

Under certain conditions, high-contrast moving figures induce adjacent illusory regions, 'wakes' and 'spokes', which have contrast polarity opposite the inducing figures. In this paper we document properties of these novel phenomena. When the illusions are induced by a moving bar, spokes appear on the side of the bar closer to fixation and connect the bar to the fixation point, regardless of the momentary position of the bar or whether it is moving to the left or to the right. Although spokes often extend up to the fixation point, they never extend beyond it. This is not due to blocking of the spoke's spread by the fixation point, because in another experiment spokes extend directly through an intervening figure. Whereas spokes emanate from the end of a horizontally moving bar closest to fixation, wakes emanate from the end farthest from fixation. In contrast to spokes, wakes do not show a towards-fixation bias. Instead, the wake's end trails the position of the bar, like a ship's wake. The higher the bar velocity, the more the end of the wake appears to trail it, suggesting that wakes are caused by a process which spreads from the edge of moving figures. Wakes and spokes, as distinct illusions, should provide significant constraints on theories of human motion and brightness perception processes.