Curved apparent motion induced by amodal completion

Sung Ho Kim, Jacob Feldman, Manish Singh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


We investigated whether amodal completion can bias apparent motion (AM) to deviate from its default straight path toward a longer curved path, which would violate the well-established principle that AM follows the shortest possible path. Observers viewed motion sequences of two alternating rectangular tokens positioned at the ends of a semicircular occluder, with varying interstimulus intervals (ISIs; 100-500 ms). At short ISIs, observers tended to report simple straight-path motion-that is, outside the occluder. But at long ISIs, they became increasingly likely to report a curved-path motion behind the occluder. This tendency toward reporting curved-path motion was influenced by the shape of tokens, display orientation, the gap between tokens and the occluder, and binocular depth cues. Our results suggest that the visual system tends to minimize unexplained absence of a moving object, as well as its path length, such that AM deviates from the shortest path when amodal integration of motion trajectory behind the curved occluder can account for the objective invisibility of the object during the ISI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)350-364
Number of pages15
JournalAttention, Perception, and Psychophysics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank Thomas Papathomas, Brian Scholl, Adriane Seiffert, and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. This work was supported in part by NIH(NEI) EY021494.


  • Amodal completion
  • Apparent motion
  • Occlusion
  • Tunnel effect


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