Predictive position coding : attentional account of motion-induced position shifts

Abstract : Localizing objects in space is one of the central functions of the visual system. When an observer or a target is moving, the motion of the eye or the object can be taken into account to compute the current object locations. It has been shown many times that visual motion can strongly influence the perceived position of an object. For example, a stationary patch containing moving texture (De Valois & De Valois, 199; Ramachandran & Anstis, 1990), a flash presented on (Cavanagh & Anstis, 2013) or next to (Whitney & Cavanagh, 2000) a moving texture, and even the onset and offset positions of the moving targets (Fröhlich, 1923) are perceived as shifted in the direction of motion. In this thesis we explore the relationship between these motion-induced position shifts and visual attention in the following forms: 1) transient spatial attention, 2) global and local attention, 3) sustained spatial attention, and 4) object-based attention. In the first series of experiments we looked at whether and how attention modulates the shift in localization of motion onset (Fröhlich effect). In Experiments 1 and 2 we measured Fröhlich effect under different cueing conditions and established that invalid or late cues produced larger perceptual shifts. In Experiment 3 we compare the motion-induced shifts when the subjects attended to a set of moving stimuli as a group and when they attended to an orientation singleton. We showed that the Fröhlich effect was only present when the target was individuated and disappeared when the stimulus was perceived globally. Thus, the Fröhlich effect appeared to be both produced and modulated by focal attention. Having established that temporal delays of attention increase motion-induced position shifts, the next study explored if spatial distribution of attention has a similar effect. In this study we used flash grab - an illusory position shift seen when a target is briefly flashed on top of a moving background that abruptly changes direction (Cavanagh & Anstis, 2013). Trials were presented in blocks and before each block a cue indicated a range of possible target locations. We found that the flash grab was reduced if the spatial distribution of targets was limited to a range of 90° or less. The final study asked whether motion shifts the perceived position of an object as a whole or if separate features of a single object are shifted independently. To test this we used the flash grab paradigm and briefly presented a shape on top of a moving background at the moment it changed direction. The results showed that the features of the target that were orthogonal to the background motion were shifted, whereas the features parallel to the motion were intact. This suggests that motion interacts with the position of the object's features (and focal attention selects them) before they are bound together into an object. In conclusion, we applied a variety of attentional manipulations to motion-induced position shifts, and examined the link between the strength of the illusion and the characteristics of attention used in a particular task. We found that 1) motion-induced position shifts require focused attention and the possibility to track an individual motion trajectory; 2) allowing attention to be allocated more efficiently in space reduces the illusion; and 3) motion-induced shifts operate on the feature-based and not object-based level.
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Nika Adamian. Predictive position coding : attentional account of motion-induced position shifts. Cognitive Sciences. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCB164⟩. ⟨tel-02143993⟩

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