Peripheral Action Phantom Illusion

Steven Thurman and Hongjing Lu

In this illusion, we created an animation of human walking out of oriented Gabor disks. The disks were spatially configured to reflect the joint movements of a leftward walker. Indeed, when viewed directly most people report seeing leftward walking. However, when viewed peripherally (red fixation cross) a phantom action appears as the walker suddenly changes walking direction! The reversal occurs because the local features of the disks (orientation, drifting speed) were carefully manipulated to instead represent a rightward walker. Additional demos are available (e.g. “chicken dance”) showing other peripheral action phantoms using the same general paradigm (link).

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