Local form interference in biological motion perception

Jess E. Kerr-Gaffney, Amelia R. Hunt, Karin S. Pilz (Corresponding Author)

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1 Citation (Scopus)
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Replacing the local dots of point-light walkers with complex images leads to significant detriments to performance in biological motion detection and discrimination tasks. This detriment has previously been shown to be larger when the local elements match the global shape in object category and facing direction. In contrast, studies using Navon stimuli have demonstrated that local interference on global processing primarily occurs when local elements are dissimilar to the global form. In 3 experiments, we investigated this contradiction by replacing the local dots of a point-light walker with human images or stick figures. Participants were significantly faster and more accurate at discriminating the facing and walking direction of a walker when the local images were facing in the same direction as the global walker than when they were facing in the opposite direction. These results provide support for the idea that organization of biological motion depends on allocation of limited processing resources to the global motion information when the local elements are complex. However, there is more disruption to global form processing when the local elements and global form conflict in task-related properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1434-1443
Number of pages10
JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
Issue number5
Early online date25 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


  • Motion
  • Biological
  • Object Recognition


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