The reverse motion illusion in random dot motion displays and implications for understanding development

Keywords: visual development, motion processing, motion coherence, individual differences, motion illusion, opposite-direction perception, 180-degree errors


Across two independent developmental labs, we have been puzzled by the observation that a small proportion of our child and adult participants consistently report perceiving motion in the direction opposite to that presented in random dot motion displays, sometimes even when the motion is at 100% coherence. In this review, we first draw together existing reports of misperceptions of motion direction in random dot displays across observers in a small percentage of trials, before reporting evidence of consistent reverse motion perception in a minority of observers, including previously unreported observations from our own studies of visual development. We consider possible explanations for this reverse motion illusion, including motion induction, motion energy, correspondence noise and spatial undersampling. However, more work is required to understand the individual differences relating to this percept. We suggest that errors in perceived motion direction are likely to be more widespread than can be currently gleaned from the literature and explain why systematic study is needed, especially in children. Finally, we list some remaining open questions and call for collaborative efforts to document this phenomenon and stimulate future investigation.


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How to Cite
Manning, C., Meier, K., & Giaschi, D. (2022). The reverse motion illusion in random dot motion displays and implications for understanding development. Journal of Illusion, 3.
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