, Volume 67, Issue 6, pp 1032-1043

Does attention cause illusory line motion?


Illusory line motion (ILM) has been shown to occur when a line is presented with one end next to a previously stimulated location. The line appears to be drawn away from the site of stimulation. It has been suggested that this is because of the allocation of attention to the stimulated site. Using an endogenous attentional manipulation (a central arrow cue) with no differences in the display between the two ends of the line at the time of line presentation or immediately prior, no ILM was detected, though there was a small effect in the opposite direction. Those who have found endogenously induced ILM have used an endogenous cue based on a property of a location marker that indicated the cued location. Changing the method of cuing to one based on a property of a peripheral marker instead of a central arrow produced a small but significant report of ILM. The small magnitude of the effect, participant self-reports, and the absence of the effect in the purely endogenous condition, suggest that this was merely a bias. ILM is not generated by endogenous attention shifts.

This research was funded by a grant to R.M.K. from the National Science and Research Council of Canada.