Extrinsic factors in the perception of bistable motion stimuli

Daniel H. Baker, Erich W. Graf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When viewing a drifting plaid stimulus, perceived motion alternates over time between coherent pattern motion and a transparent impression of the two component gratings. It is known that changing the intrinsic attributes of such patterns (e.g. speed, orientation and spatial frequency of components) can influence percept predominance. Here, we investigate the contribution of extrinsic factors to perception; specifically contextual motion and eye movements. In the first experiment, the percept most similar to the speed and direction of surround motion increased in dominance, implying a tuned integration process. This shift primarily involved an increase in dominance durations of the consistent percept. The second experiment measured eye movements under similar conditions. Saccades were not associated with perceptual transitions, though blink rate increased around the time of a switch. This indicates that saccades do not cause switches, yet saccades in a congruent direction might help to prolong a percept because i) more saccades were directionally congruent with the currently reported percept than expected by chance, and ii) when observers were asked to make deliberate eye movements along one motion axis, this increased percept reports in that direction. Overall, we find evidence that perception of bistable motion can be modulated by information from spatially adjacent regions, and changes to the retinal image caused by blinks and saccades.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1257-1265
Number of pages9
JournalVision Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 28 Apr 2010

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Vision Research. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Baker, Daniel H. and Graf, Erich W. (2010). Extrinsic factors in the perception of bistable motion stimuli. Vision Research, 50 (13), pp. 1257-1265. DOI 10.1016/j.visres.2010.04.016


  • bistable motion
  • saccades
  • contextual modulation
  • motion integration


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