Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: October 2010

18 - Simultaneity versus asynchrony of visual motion and luminance changes

from Part III - Temporal phenomena: binding and asynchrony


Much work has been described comparing relative timing of different features, mostly motion and color or motion and a flash. Here we study the timing relations of pairs of motion stimuli and pairs of motion and flicker or motion and flashes. In a two-alternative forced choice task we measured thresholds for detecting asynchrony, providing estimates for shifts in subjective simultaneity as well as the window of synchronicity.

Windows of synchronicity varied for different combinations of motion direction. Comparing different velocities or different contrast levels revealed large shifts in subjective synchronicity. Contrast effects were much larger for motion reversals than for luminance flicker, indicating a major influence on motion mechanisms. Our results are compatible with the hypothesis of a flexible, high-level brain program for timing analysis. Temporal resolution of this program is limited. Differences in the processing of separate motion characteristics should be taken into account in cross-feature comparisons involving visual motion information. Results for motion reversals versus luminance flashes did not reveal a clear differential shift in time. Large differences within the motion system and the lack of a differential latency between motion reversals and flashes suggest that the flash-lag effect may be largely caused by instant spatial remapping of positional information for moving objects. We show that spatial extrapolation does not necessarily result in overshoot errors when the motion stops.

Recommend this book

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this book to your organisation's collection.

Space and Time in Perception and Action
  • Online ISBN: 9780511750540
  • Book DOI:
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to *
Bair, W., & Koch, C. (1996). Temporal precision of spike trains in extrastriate cortex of the behaving macaque monkey. Neural Comput 8: 1185–1202.
Bartels, A., & Zeki, S. (1998). The theory of multistage integration in the visual brain. Proc R Soc Lond B 265: 2327–2332.
Borghuis, B. G., Perge, J. A., Vajda, I., van Wezel, R. J., van de Grind, W. A., & Lankheet, M. J. (2003). The motion reverse correlation (MRC) method: a linear systems approach in the motion domain. J Neurosci Methods 123(2): 153–166.
Dennett, D. C., & Kinsbourne, M. (1992). Time and the observer. The where and when of consciousness in the brain. Behav Brain Sci 15: 183–247.
Donders, F. C. (1868). On the speed of mental processes. Reproduced in Acta Psychologica 30: 412–431.
Eagleman, D. M., & Sejnowski, T. J. (2000). Motion integration and postdiction in visual awareness. Science 287: 2036–2038.
Fröhlich, F. W. (1923). Über die Messung der Empfindungszeit. Zeitschrift für Sinnesphysiologie 54: 58–78.
Hazelhoff, F. F., & Wiersma, H. (1925). Die Wahrnehmingszeit. Zeitschrift für Psychologie 96: 171–188, and 97: 174–190.
Johnston, A., & Nishida, S. (2001). Time perception: brain time or event time? Curr Biol 11: R427–R430.
Koenderink, J. J., van Doorn, A. J., & van de Grind, W. A. (1985). Spatial and temporal parameters of motion detection in the peripheral visual field. J Opt Soc Am A 2: 252–259.
Krekelberg, B., & Lappe, M. (1999). Temporal recruitment along the trajectory of moving objects and the perception of position. Vision Res 39: 2669–2679.
Metzger, W. (1932). Versuch einer gemeinsamen Theorie der Phänomene Fröhlichs und Hazelhoffs und Kritik ihrer Verfahren zur Messung der Empfindungszeit. Psychologische Forschung 16: 176–200.
Moutoussis, K., & Zeki, S. (1997a). A direct demonstration of perceptual asynchrony in vision. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 264(1380): 393–399.
Moutoussis, K., & Zeki, S. (1997b). Functional segregation and temporal hierarchy of the visual perceptive systems. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 264(1387): 1407–1414.
Nijhawan, R. (1994). Motion extrapolation in catching. Nature 370: 256–257.
Nijhawan, R. (1997). Visual decomposition of colour through motion extrapolation. Nature 386: 66–69.
Nijhawan, R. (2001). The flash-lag phenomenon: object and eye movements. Perception 30: 263–282.
Nishida, S., & Johnston, A. (2002). Marker correspondence, not processing latency, determines temporal binding of visual attributes. Curr Biol 12: 359–368.
Perge, J. A., Borghuis, B. G., Bours, R. J., Lankheet, M. J., & van Wezel, R. J. (2005). Temporal dynamics of direction tuning in motion sensitive macaque area MT. J Neurophysiol 93: 2104–2116.
Pöppel, E. (2000). Grenzen des Bewusstseins (Limits of Consciousness). Frankfurt|a.M. & Leipzig: Insel Verlag.
Purushothaman, G., Patel, S. S., Bedell, H. E., & Öğmen, H. (1998). Moving ahead through differential visual latency. Nature 396: 424.
Stein, B. E., & Meredith, M. A. (1993). The Merging of the Senses. Cambridge, MA: Bradford Book, MIT Press.
Vajda, I., Lankheet, M. J., Borghuis, B. G., & van de Grind, W. A. (2004). Dynamics of directional selectivity in area 18 and PMLS of the cat. Cereb Cortex 14(7): 759–767.
van de Grind, W. A. (2002). Physical, neural, and mental timing. Conscious Cogn 11: 241–264.
van de Grind, W. A., Koenderink, J. J., & van Doorn, A. J. (1986). The distribution of human motion detector properties in the monocular visual field. Vision Res 26: 797–810.
van den Berg, A. V., & van de Grind, W. A. (1989). Reaction times to motion onset and motion detection thresholds reflect the properties of bilocal motion detectors. Vision Res 29(9): 1261–1266.
van Doorn, A. J., & Koenderink, J. J. (1982). Temporal properties of the visual detectability of moving spatial white noise. Exp Brain Res 45: 179–188.
Wichmann, F. A., & Hill, N. J. (2001a). The psychometric function I: fitting, sampling and goodness-of-fit. Percept Psychophys 63(8): 1293–1313.
Wichmann, F. A., & Hill, N. J. (2001b). The psychometric function II: bootstrap based confidence intervals and sampling. Percept Psychophys 63(8): 1314–1329.
Zeki, S. (2003). The disunity of consciousness. Trends Cogn Sci 7(5): 214–218.
Zeki, S., & Bartels, A. (1998a). The asynchrony of consciousness. Proc R Soc Lond B 265: 1583–1585.
Zeki, S., & Bartels, A. (1998b). The autonomy of the visual systems and the modularity of conscious vision. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 353: 1911–1914.
Zeki, S., & Bartels, A. (1999). Toward a theory of visual consciousness. Conscious Cogn 8: 225–259.
Zeki, S., & Moutoussis, K. (1997). Temporal hierarchy of the visual perceptive systems in the mondrian world. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 264(1387): 1415–1419.