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Iperception. 2011;2(9):1063-75. doi: 10.1068/i0435. Epub 2011 Dec 19.

Effect of speed overestimation on flash-lag effect at low luminance.

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Vision Sciences Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA; e-mail:


When a brief flash is presented at the same location as a moving object, the flash is perceived to lag behind the moving object to an extent that increases with the speed of the object. Previous studies showed that moving objects appear faster at low luminance as a result of their longer motion trace. Here we examine whether this faster perceived motion also affects the amount of the flash lag at low luminance. We first verified that speed was overestimated at low luminance with our stimulus. We then asked subjects to align a briefly flashed dot with the moving target. Results showed that the flash-lag effect increased with physical speed at both high and low luminance, but there was no additional increase due to the perceived increase of speed at low luminance. We suggest that although motion blur contributes to perceived speed, it does not contribute to the speed information that influences its perceived position.


Pulfrich effect; flash lag effect; low luminance; motion perception; position perception; speed perception

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