Hybrid motion illusions as examples of perceptual conflict

  • Arthur Shapiro Departments of Psychology and Computer Science, Center for Neuroscience and Behavior, American University, Washington, DC, USA
Keywords: Illusion, blur, motion, spatial scale, hybrid images, philosophy of reality, modes of perception


Shapiro and Hedjar (2019) proposed a shift in the definition of illusion, from ‘differences between perception and reality’ to ‘conflicts between possible constructions of reality’. This paper builds on this idea by presenting a series of motion hybrid images that juxtapose fine scale contrast (high spatial frequency content) with coarse scale contrast-generated motion (low spatial frequency content). As is the case for static hybrid images, under normal viewing conditions the fine scale contrast determines the perception of motion hybrid images; however, if the motion hybrid image is blurred or viewed from a distance, the perception is determined by the coarse scale contrast. The fine scale contrast therefore masks the perception of motion (and sometimes depth) produced by the coarser scale contrast. Since the unblurred movies contain both fine and coarse scale contrast information, but the blurred movies contain only coarse scale contrast information, cells in the brain that respond to low spatial frequencies should respond equally to both blurred and unblurred movies. Since people undoubtedly differ in the optics of their eyes and most likely in the neural processes that resolve conflict across scales, the paper suggests that motion hybrid images illustrate trade-offs between spatial scales that are important for understanding individual differences in perceptions of the natural world.


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How to Cite
Shapiro, A. (2021). Hybrid motion illusions as examples of perceptual conflict. Journal of Illusion, 2. https://doi.org/10.47691/joi.v2.7084
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