Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 69, Issue 5, pp 772-784

First online:

Information persistence in the integration of partial cues for object recognition

  • Ernest GreeneAffiliated withLaboratory for Neurometric Research, Department of Psychology, University of Southern California Email author 


A great many studies have shown that the perceptual effects of very brief visual stimuli can persist beyond the duration of the stimulus itself. These effects include sustained perception of the stimulus even though it is no longer present and the integration of information across an interstimulus interval. These two forms of sustained activity can be characterized as visible persistence and information persistence. Iconic memory protocols and a number of discrimination tasks have demonstrated the existence of information persistence that can last up to several hundred milliseconds, but there is little evidence that the cues needed for identification of objects can be transferred across intervals in this range. In the present experiments, a minimal transient discrete cue protocol was used to demonstrate that shape cues, these being provided by subsets of dots that mark the outer boundary of nameable objects, can be integrated over several hundred milliseconds and that the duration is a function of ambient room illumination. The experiments further evaluated whether this information persistence is mediated by visible persistence. Although both perceptual effects have durations that are an inverse function of room illumination, the ability to integrate partial shape cues was not determined by the duration of visible persistence.