The hierarchical order of processes underlying the direction illusion and the direction aftereffect

Max Farrell-Whelan*, Peter Wenderoth, Kevin R. Brooks

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Motion perception involves the processing of velocity signals through several hierarchical stages of the visual cortex. To better understand this process, a number of studies have sought to localise the neural substrates of two misperceptions of motion direction, the direction illusion (DI) and the direction aftereffect (DAE). These studies have produced contradictory evidence as to the hierarchical order of the processing stages from which the respective phenomena arise. We have used a simple stimulus configuration to further investigate the sequential order of processes giving rise to the DI and DAE. To this end, we measured the two phenomena invoked in combination, and also manually parsed this combined effect into its two constituents by measuring the two phenomena individually in both possible sequential orders. Comparing the predictions made from each order to the outcome from the combined effect allowed us to test the tenability of two models: the DAE-first model and the DI-first model. Our results indicate that DAE-invoking activity does not occur earlier in the motion processing hierarchy than DI-invoking activity. Although the DI-first model is not inconsistent with our data, the possible involvement of non-sequential processing may be better able to reconcile these results with those of previous studies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)389-401
    Number of pages13
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


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