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Perceptual grouping based on temporal structure: Impact of subliminal flicker and visual transients

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In two experiments we examined the perceived grouping of grids of equidistant dots, which are rapidly modulated over time so that alternate rows or columns are presented out of phase. In Experiment 1, we report that observers were able to group the grids consistent with the temporal modulation reliably, even at contrasts/frequencies for which flicker was not detectable. Moreover, flicker thresholds decreased with stimulus duration, whilst grouping thresholds did not change. In Experiment 2, we examined the impact of visual transients, by measuring performance when, either a mask or a contrast ramp was presented before and after the stimulus. Performance dropped substantially for both conditions, but remained significantly above chance. The results are discussed in relation to the role of temporal correlations in stimulus modulations and visual transients in grouping.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Birkbeck College, London, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2006


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