OMS Published in Journal of Vision

Matthew Jacobs, a researcher in our Social Innovation Lab, has published his first article in the Journal of Vision. The paper is about an illusion called Illusory Apparent Motion (IAM). Even though the pixels in this video refresh randomly, people can see the illusion of coherent movement (using moving up and down, or left and right).

Matthew's main contribution was in performing an eye tracking analysis and demonstrating that there is no evidence that eye movement influences what illusion people see for Illusory Apparent Motion.

The article is called Subjective control of polystable illusory apparent motion: Is control possible when the stimulus affords countless motion possibilities?

Congratulations Matthew!

You can read the abstract below:

We investigate whether a new polystable illusion, illusory apparent motion (IAM), is susceptible to subjective perceptual control as has been shown in other polystable stimuli (e.g., the Necker cube, apparent motion quartets). Previous research has demonstrated that, although IAM shares some properties in common with other polystable stimuli, it also has some unique ones that make it unclear whether it should have similar susceptibility to subjective control. For example, IAM can be perceived in a countless number of directions and motion patterns (e.g., up–down, left–left, contracting–expanding, shear, diagonal). To explore perceptual control of IAM, in experiment 1 (n = 99) we used a motion persistence paradigm where participants are primed with different motion patterns and are instructed to control (change or hold) the initial motion pattern and indicate when the motion pattern changes. Building on experiment 1, experiment 2 (n = 76) brings the method more in line with previous subjective control research, testing whether participants can control their perception of IAM in a context without priming and while dynamically reporting their percepts throughout the trial. Findings from the two experiments demonstrate that participants were able to control their perception of IAM across paradigms. We explore the implications of these findings, strategies reported, and open questions for future research.


Open Minds Silicon Valley provides platforms to elevate the voices of diverse students, professionals, and families. We encourage writing submissions to be emailed to We look forward to being in touch about possible feature options.

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