Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1980 Jul 8;290(1038):57-69.

The persistences of vision.


Human observers continue to experience a visual stimulus for some time after the offset that stimulus. The neural activity evoked by a visual stimulus continues for some time after its offset. The information extracted from a visual stimulus continues to be registered in a visual form of memory ('iconic memory') for some time after its offset. We may thus distinguish three distinct senses in which a visual stimulus may be said to persist after its physical offset: there is phenomenological persistence, neural persistence and informational persistence. Various assumptions have been made about the relation between these forms of visual persistence. The most frequent assumption is that they correspond simply to three different methods for studying a single entity. Detailed consideration of what is known about the properties of these three forms of persistence suggests, however, that this assumption is not correct. It can reasonably be proposed that visible persistence is the phenomenological correlate of neural persistence occurring at various stages of the visual system: photoreceptors, ganglion cells and the stereopsis system. Iconic memory on the other hand, does not correspond to visible persistence, nor to neural persistence in any stage of the visual system. Recent work, in fact, suggests that iconic memory is a property of some relatively late stage in the visual information-processing system, rather than being a peripheral sensory buffer store. This suggestion raises some fundamental theoretical issues concerning the psychology of visual perception, issues with which cognitive psychology has yet to come to grips.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire
    Loading ...
    Support Center