THE ATTENUATION OF VISUAL PERSISTENCE

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Abstract

Haber & Standing (1969, 1970) have shown that visual persistence (VP), which it is suggested corresponds to Sperling's ‘Visual Information Store’, can be directly measured. The present investigation extends this approach with another direct measure of VP. This involves recording the number of phenomenally simultaneous lines that are experienced when viewing a single trace moving in a straight line, at a sweep speed above the fusion threshold, across the face of a rotating CRO. The results from three experiments suggested that VP for the apparent movement produced by this display was a decreasing function of field brightness, a curvilinear function of sweep speed, and an increasing function of rotation speed and of the spatial separation of the lines. One implication of the latter findings, namely that termination of VP may be brought about by lateral inhibition, received additional support from the finding that disruption by a superimposed noise field increased VP.

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