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Journal of Vision


Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences


When a static stimulus appears successively at two distant locations, we perceive illusory motion of the stimulus across them–long-range apparent motion (AM). Previous studies have shown that when the apparent motion stimuli differ in shape, interpolation between the two shapes is perceived across the AM path. In contrast, the perceived color during AM has been shown to abruptly change from the color of the first stimulus into that of the second, suggesting interpolation does not occur for color during AM. Here, we report the first evidence to our knowledge, that an interpolated color, distinct from the colors of either apparent motion stimulus, is represented as the intermediate percept on the path of apparent motion. Using carefully chosen target colors—cyan, pink, and lime—that are perceptually and neurally intermediate between blue and green, orange and magenta, and green and orange respectively, we show that detection of a target presented on the apparent motion path was impaired when the color of the target was “in-between” the initial and terminal stimulus colors. Furthermore, we show that this feature-specific masking effect for the intermediate color cannot be accounted for by color similarity between the intermediate color and the color of the terminal inducer. Our findings demonstrate that intermediate colors can be interpolated over the apparent motion trajectory as in the case of shape, possibly involving similar interpolation processes for shape and color during apparent motion.



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