Format

Send to

Choose Destination
PLoS Biol. 2004 Nov;2(11):e364. Epub 2004 Oct 26.

Perception, action, and Roelofs effect: a mere illusion of dissociation.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology and Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon, USA. prd@darkwing.uoregon.edu

Abstract

A prominent and influential hypothesis of vision suggests the existence of two separate visual systems within the brain, one creating our perception of the world and another guiding our actions within it. The induced Roelofs effect has been described as providing strong evidence for this perception/action dissociation: When a small visual target is surrounded by a large frame positioned so that the frame's center is offset from the observer's midline, the perceived location of the target is shifted in the direction opposite the frame's offset. In spite of this perceptual mislocalization, however, the observer can accurately guide movements to the target location. Thus, perception is prone to the illusion while actions seem immune. Here we demonstrate that the Roelofs illusion is caused by a frame-induced transient distortion of the observer's apparent midline. We further demonstrate that actions guided to targets within this same distorted egocentric reference frame are fully expected to be accurate, since the errors of target localization will exactly cancel the errors of motor guidance. These findings provide a mechanistic explanation for the various perceptual and motor effects of the induced Roelofs illusion without requiring the existence of separate neural systems for perception and action. Given this, the behavioral dissociation that accompanies the Roelofs effect cannot be considered evidence of a dissociation of perception and action. This indicates a general need to re-evaluate the broad class of evidence purported to support this hypothesized dissociation.

PMID:
15510224
PMCID:
PMC524248
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pbio.0020364
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center