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Paper   IPM / Cognitive Sciences / 7444
School of Cognitive Sciences
  Title:   Wagon Wheel Illusion Under Steady Illumination : Real or Illusory
1.  P. Pakarian
2.  M.T. Yasamy
  Status:   Published
  Journal: Perception
  No.:  11
  Vol.:  32
  Year:  2003
  Pages:   1307-1310
  Supported by:  IPM
Wheels turning in the movies sometimes appear to be rotating backward. This is called Wagon Wheel Illusion (WWI). The mechanism of this illusion is based on the intermittency of light in films and other stroboscopic presentations, which renders them as a series of snapshots rather than a continuous visual data stream. However, there have been claims that this illusion is seen even in continuous light. This result suggests that the visual system itself may sample a continuous visual data stream. We examined the rate of this putative sampling and its variations across individuals while in different psychological states. We obtained two results: (1) WWI occurs in stroboscopic lights as expected. (2) WWI was never reported by our subjects in continuous lights such as sunlight and lamps with DC power source. Thus, WWI cannot be taken as an evidence for discreteness of the conscious visual perception

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