Perceptual adaptation to structure-from-motion depends on the size of adaptor and probe objects, but not on the similarity of their shapes

Professorship/Faculty: General Psychology and Methodology  
Author(s): Pastukhov, Alexander  ; Lissner, Anna; Braun, Jochen
Title of the Journal: Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics
ISSN: 1943-393X
Year of publication: 2014
Volume: 76
Issue: 2
Pages: 473-488
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.3758/s13414-013-0567-1
Perceptual adaptation destabilizes the phenomenal appearance of multistable visual displays. Prolonged dominance of a perceptual state fatigues the associated neural population, lowering the likelihood of renewed perception of the same appearance (Nawrot & Blake in Perception & Psychophysics, 49, 230-44, 1991). Here, we used a selective adaptation paradigm to investigate perceptual adaptation for the illusory rotation of ambiguous structure-from-motion (SFM) displays. Specifically, we generated SFM objects with different three-dimensional shapes and presented them in random order, separating successive objects by brief blank periods, which included a mask. To assess the specificity of perceptual adaptation to the shape of SFM objects, we established the probability that a perceived direction of rotation persisted between successive objects of similar or dissimilar shape. We found that the strength of negative aftereffects depended on the volume, but not the shape, of adaptor and probe objects. More voluminous objects were both more effective as adaptor objects and more sensitive as probe objects. Surprisingly, we found these volume effects to be completely independent, since any relationship between two shapes (such as overlap between volumes, similarity of shape, or similarity of velocity profiles) failed to modulate the negative aftereffect. This pattern of results was the opposite of that observed for sensory memory of SFM objects, which reflects similarity between objects, but not volume of individual objects (Pastukhov et al. in Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, 75, 1215-1229, 2013). The disparate specificities of perceptual adaptation and sensory memory for identical SFM objects suggest that the two aftereffects engage distinct neural representations, consistent with recent brain imaging results (Schwiedrzik et al. in Cerebral Cortex, 2012).
Keywords: Multistable perception, Adaptation, Visual memory
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Document Type: Article
Year of publication: 25. November 2016