Delayed pointing movements to masked Müller-Lyer figures are affected by target size but not the illusion

M.M. de Wit, J. van der Kamp, R.S.W. Masters

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    There is ongoing debate with respect to interpretation of the finding that, in contrast to perceptual size judgments, actions are relatively unaffected by the Müller-Lyer illusion. In normal unrestricted viewing situations observers cannot perform an action directed at an object without simultaneously perceiving the object - this makes it difficult to unequivocally establish whether observed effects are a function of vision for perception, vision for action, a combination of both, or of a single all-purpose visual system. However, there is evidence that observers are capable of performing actions towards objects of which they are not consciously aware, implying that two distinct visual thresholds may exist; one accompanying vision for action and one accompanying vision for perception. To investigate this possibility we created a situation in which visual information was presented below the perception threshold, but above the purported action threshold, allowing examination of action responses independent of contributions from vision for perception. Following a perceptual categorization task, participants performed delayed pointing movements towards briefly exposed masked Müller-Lyer targets of different sizes. When the targets were presented below the perception threshold, participants were unable to discriminate between them, yet their delayed pointing movements were affected by target size (but not the illusion). The results imply that vision for action is functional even after a delay and/or that the pickup of egocentric information is associated with a lower visual threshold than the pickup of allocentric information. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1903-1909
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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