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Temporal binding during apparent movement of the human body

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Alternating between static images of human bodies with an appropriate interstimulus interval (ISI) produces apparent biological motion. Here we investigate links between apparent biological motion and time perception. We presented two pictures of the initial and final positions of a human movement separated by six different ISIs. The shortest movement path between two positions was always biomechanically impossible. Participants performed two tasks: In an explicit task, participants judged whether they saw the longer, feasible movement path between the two postures, or the shorter, biomechanically impossible path. In an implicit task, participants judged the duration of a white square surrounding the picture sequence. At longer ISIs participants were more likely to see a longer, feasible movement path (explicit task) and underestimated the duration of body picture pairs, compared to trials displaying degraded body pictures (implicit task). We argue that perceiving apparent biological motion involves temporal binding of two static pictures into a continuous movement. Such temporal binding may be mediated by a top-down mechanism that produces a percept of biological motion in the absence of any retinal motion.

Keywords: Apparent biological motion; Dance; Human body; Temporal binding; Time perception

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience,University College London, UK

Publication date: 2011-08-01

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