Psihologija 2002 Volume 35, Issue 3-4, Pages: 209-223
doi:10.2298/PSI0203209T
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A new variant of the barberpole effect: Psychophysical data and computer simulations

Todorović Dejan M.

The classic barberpole effect shows that perceived direction of motion of parallel line segments depends on the orientation of the frame defined by segment end points. A stimulus configuration was created by crossing two oblique barberpoles. Perceived motion in the crossed portion of the configuration is bi-stable, alternating between two oblique directions defined by the two component barberpoles. Ratings of dominance of perceived motion direction in the crossed portion of two barberpoles of different width and orientation revealed a strong preference for the wider component barberpole and a weak preference for the nearer-to-vertical component barberpole. A network model is presented in which each unit inhibits units with different direction sensitivity and co-extensive receptive fields, and excites units with equal direction sensitivity and neighboring receptive fields. Simulations of the temporal evolution of the spatial activity profile exhibit the effect of barberpole width and the bi-stability of percepts. Fatigue of highly adapted units enables the gradual emergence of non-adapted units. Small initial variations can lead to profound differences in the final state of the system, explaining the quasi-random fluctuation between the two perceptual variants.

Keywords: barberpole effect, bi-stable motion percepts, network model

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