The effect of retinal illuminance on visual motion priming
The perceived direction of a directionally ambiguous stimulus is influenced by the moving direction of a preceding priming stimulus. Previous studies have shown that a brief priming stimulus induces positive motion priming, in which a subsequent directionally ambiguous stimulus is perceived to move in the same direction as the primer, while a longer priming stimulus induces negative priming, in which the following ambiguous stimulus is perceived to move in the opposite direction of the primer. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the underlying mechanism of motion priming by examining how retinal illuminance and velocity of the primer influences the perception of priming. Subjects judged the perceived direction of 180-deg phase-shifted (thus directionally ambiguous) sine-wave gratings displayed immediately after the offset of a primer stimulus. We found that perception of motion priming was greatly modulated by the retinal illuminance and velocity of the primer. Under low retinal illuminance, positive priming nearly disappeared even when the effective luminance contrast was equated between different conditions. Positive priming was prominent when the velocity of the primer was low, while only negative priming was observed when the velocity was high. These results suggest that the positive motion priming is induced by a higher-order mechanism that tracks prominent features of the visual stimulus, while a directionally selective motion mechanism induces negative motion priming.