Neon color spreading in dynamic displays: Temporal factors, Journal of Vision (13):12,2.

When a red star is placed in the middle of an Ehrenstein figure so as to be collinear with the surrounding black rays, a reddish veil is perceived to fill the white center. This is called neon color spreading. To better understand the processes that give rise to this phenomenon, we studied the temporal properties of the effect. Specifically, we presented a “sustained” black Ehrenstein figure (rays) for 600 ms and a “transient” red star for 48 ms, or the converse pattern, at various stimulus onset asynchronies (?100–700 ms) and asked subjects to compare the strength of the neon color in the test stimulus to that of a reference pattern in which the transient star had an onset asynchrony of 300 ms. Additional exposure durations of 24 and 96 ms were used for each transient stimulus in order to study the effect of temporal integration. Simultaneity of the on- and off-transients of the star and the Ehrenstein rays were found to optimize neon color spreading, especially when both stimuli terminated together. Longer exposure durations of the transient stimulus up to 96 ms further improved the effect. Neon color spreading was much reduced when the transient stimulus was presented soon after the beginning of the sustained stimulus, with a gradual build-up towards the end. These results emphasize the importance of stimulus onset asynchrony (SOA) and stimulus termination asynchrony (STA) for the perception of neon color spreading.

Spatiotemporal filtering and motion illusions, Journal of Vision, (13)10-21.

Our group has long championed the idea that perceptual processing of information can be anchored in a dynamic coordinate system that need not correspond to the instantaneous retinal representation that need not correspond to the istantaneus retinal representation…

Long Integration Time for Accelerating and Decelerating Visual, Tactile and Visuo-tactile Stimuli, Multisensory Research, 1-2 (26), 53-68.

The human visual system is good at discriminating speed but not acceleration. However, as speed is seldom constant, it is important to be able to extract speed in conditions of acceleration and deceleration. We measured visual, tactile and bimodal speed-matching over a wide range of accelerations and decelerations in a 2IFC procedure. Both visual and tactile stimuli were generated on physical wheels etched with a sinusoidal profile. During different experimental sessions the wheels could be seen, or touched, or both. Comparisons between different unimodal and bimodal matched speeds revealed similar integration times for the two modalities, in both cases around one second, suggesting that it occurs at a relatively high level of processing. Bimodal precision of speed discrimination was better than unimodal discrimination, as predicted by the maximum likelihood model of optimal integration.

Congenital nystagmus in two infants born from mothers exposed to methadone during pregnancy,Ital J Pediatr, 1 (39), 40.

BACKGROUND: Methadone is commonly prescribed as a substitute for illicit opioids. Use of methadone during pregnancy is associated with neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), reduced head circumference as well as a slight increase in neonatal mortality and morbidity. Less is known about the effects of methadone on the visual system.Cases: We report two Italian cases of nystagmus in infants born from mothers exposed to methadone during pregnancy. Ophthalmic or central disorders were excluded as a cause of nystagmus in both infants. The first case was followed at 3, 6 and 12 months while the second one was evaluated at 5 and 8 months. Both infants had normal neurological and cognitive development. Their first evaluation revealed different characteristics but both showed progressive improvement in ocular disorder, persistence of pendular horizontal nystagmus and nearly normal visual acuity. CONCLUSION: This report, the first description of Italian cases of nystagmus related to use of methadone during pregnancy, underlies the importance of a careful investigation of drug use in pregnancy in cases of unexplained congenital nystagmus.

Spatio-temporal topography of saccadic overestimation of time,Vision Res, (83C), 56-65.

Rapid eye movements (saccades) induce visual misperceptions. A number of studies in recent years have investigated the spatio-temporal profiles of effects like saccadic suppression or perisaccadic mislocalization and revealed substantial functional similarities. Saccade induced chronostasis describes the subjective overestimation of stimulus duration when the stimulus onset falls within a saccade. In this study we aimed to functionally characterize saccade induced chronostasis in greater detail. Specifically we tested if chronostasis is influenced by or functionally related to saccadic suppression. In a first set of experiments, we measured the perceived duration of visual stimuli presented at different spatial positions as a function of presentation time relative to the saccade. We further compared perceived duration during saccades for isoluminant and luminant stimuli. Finally, we investigated whether or not saccade induced chronostasis is dependent on the execution of a saccade itself. We show that chronostasis occurs across the visual field with a clear spatio-temporal tuning. Furthermore, we report chronostasis during simulated saccades, indicating that spurious retinal motion induced by the saccade is a prime origin of the phenomenon.

Spatiotopic neural representations develop slowly across saccades,Curr Biol, 5 (23), R193-194.

One of the long-standing unsolved mysteries of visual neuroscience is how the world remains apparently stable in the face of continuous movements of eyes, head and body. Many factors seem to contribute to this stability, including rapid updating mechanisms that temporarily remap the visual input to compensate for the impending saccade [1]. However, there is also a growing body of evidence pointing to more long-lasting spatiotopic neural representations, which remain solid in external rather than retinal coordinates [2-6]. In this study, we show that these spatiotopic representations take hundreds of milliseconds to build up robustly.

Compromised approximate number system acuity in school-aged children born extremely preterm,Dev Med Child Neurol.

The New Visual Neuroscience: MIT Press.

The “motion silencing” illusion results from global motion and crowding,J Vis, 5 (13).

Suchow and Alvarez (2011) recently devised a striking illusion, where objects changing in color, luminance, size, or shape appear to stop changing when they move. They refer to the illusion as “motion silencing of awareness to visual change.” Here we present evidence that the illusion results from two perceptual processes: global motion and crowding. We adapted Suchow and Alvarez’s stimulus to three concentric rings of dots, a central ring of “target dots” flanked on either side by similarly moving flanker dots. Subjects had to identify in which of two presentations the target dots were continuously changing (sinusoidally) in size, as distinct from the other interval in which size was constant. The results show: (a) Motion silencing depends on target speed, with a threshold around 0.2 rotations per second (corresponding to about 10 degrees /s linear motion). (b) Silencing depends on both target-flanker spacing and eccentricity, with critical spacing about half eccentricity, consistent with Bouma’s law. (c) The critical spacing was independent of stimulus size, again consistent with Bouma’s law. (d) Critical spacing depended strongly on contrast polarity. All results imply that the “motion silencing” illusion may result from crowding.

A mechanism for detecting coincidence of auditory and visual spatial signals,Multisens Res, 4 (26), 333-345.

Information about the world is captured by our separate senses, and must be integrated to yield a unified representation. This raises the issue of which signals should be integrated and which should remain separate, as inappropriate integration will lead to misrepresentation and distortions. One strong cue suggesting that separate signals arise from a single source is coincidence, in space and in time. We measured increment thresholds for discriminating spatial intervals defined by pairs of simultaneously presented targets, one flash and one auditory sound, for various separations. We report a ‘dipper function’, in which thresholds follow a ‘U-shaped’ curve, with thresholds initially decreasing with spatial interval, and then increasing for larger separations. The presence of a dip in the audiovisual increment-discrimination function is evidence that the auditory and visual signals both input to a common mechanism encoding spatial separation, and a simple filter model with a sigmoidal transduction function simulated the results well. The function of an audiovisual spatial filter may be to detect coincidence, a fundamental cue guiding whether to integrate or segregate.