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Visual impressions of generative transmission

White, Peter A. 2016. Visual impressions of generative transmission. Visual Cognition 23 (9-10) , pp. 1168-1204. 10.1080/13506285.2016.1149533

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Previous research has shown that stimuli in which a moving object (A) contacts a stationary one (B) and stops, and object B then moves off in the same direction, give rise to a causal impression: object A is perceived as producing the motion of object B. This impression is weakened or does not occur if there is a delay between A contacting B and B moving, or if there is a spatial gap between B and the location at which A stops. It is shown that a strong causal impression can occur despite the presence of both gap and delay if there are cues to generative transmission of causal influence from A to B. The cues investigated were successive colour change of a series of objects filling the gap between A and B. Reported causal impressions were stronger with the colour change stimuli than with stimuli in which the objects were present but did not change colour, and stronger if the colour change proceeded from A to B than if it proceeded in the opposite direction. Reported causal impressions increased in strength as the number of objects involved in the colour change increased, consistent with the hypothesis that the colour change is a cue to a process of transmission, and inconsistent with the hypothesis that it is perceived or inferred as involving a chain of causal relations. Other kinds of changes to object properties—a small upward motion, shrinkage without moving, and disappearance—yielded similar results. It appears that any rapid sequential change in object properties in the direction of causal influence can function to give rise to the visual impression of generative transmission. The possible role of apparent motion is discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1350-6285
Date of Acceptance: 29 January 2016
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2020 09:30

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