🙄 Illusion of visual stability through active perceptual serial dependence

Answers the question for me: Why can’t I see that things are changing?

•From the article:

Despite a noisy and ever-changing visual world, our perceptual experience seems remarkably stable over time. How does our visual system achieve this apparent stability? Here, we introduce a previously unknown visual illusion that shows direct evidence for an online mechanism continuously smoothing our percepts over time. As a result, a continuously seen physically changing object can be misperceived as unchanging. We find that online object appearance is captured by past visual experience up to 15 seconds ago. We propose that, because of an underlying active mechanism of serial dependence, the representation of the object is continuously merged over time, and the consequence is an illusory stability in which object appearance is biased toward the past. Our results provide a direct demonstration of the link between serial dependence in visual representations and perceived visual stability in everyday life.


Great topic!
Actually one could see that things are changing, but one fails to perceive that things are changing…

When practicing Zhine (calm abiding) with an object, one becomes increasingly aware that the problem is not to continuously see an object an its changes, but it is the dominant tendency of the mind to become distracted from the pure act of seeing. The mind has the tendency to violently shift away from the object of perception only after a few seconds.
Trying to keep a steady focused gaze on an object for more that 30 seconds is a difficult task (which only becomes easier with steady practice).
But that’s what is happening all the time during the day. Rapid visual scans of the environment for blatant changes/anomalies and the rest gets filled in mentally without actually seeing it.


Slowing the mind down increases perception.


From the article:

In other words, the brain is like a time machine which keeps sending us back in time. It’s like an app that consolidates our visual input every 15 seconds into one impression so that we can handle everyday life. If our brains were always updating in real time, the world would feel like a chaotic place with constant fluctuations in light, shadow and movement. We would feel like we were hallucinating all the time.

1 Like