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On the depth reversibility of point-light actions

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We investigate the occurrence of perspective reversals for a depth-ambiguous point-light figure. In addition, we exploit the phenomenon of reversibility to search for stimulus features relevant in the process of depth assignment. Experiment 1 shows that perceptual switches indeed occur during prolonged viewing, although the switches occur infrequently. The reversibility is confirmed in Experiment 2, in which the perceptual ambiguity of the point-light action is manipulated as well as observers’ intention to perceive a particular alternative. In addition, the pattern of eye movements reveals local stimulus features specifically associated with the perception of the different alternatives. In Experiment 3, the importance of these features as determining factors of the initial interpretation is investigated by manipulating the location of the first fixation on the stimulus. Implications for a better understanding of biological motion perception are discussed.
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Keywords: Action perception; Biological motion; Bistability; Depth perception; Reversible figures

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratory of Experimental Psychology, KU Leuven, Belgium

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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