Previous research has shown that prior adaptation to a spatially circumscribed, oscillating grating results in the duration of a subsequent stimulus briefly presented within the adapted region being underestimated. There is an on-going debate about where in the motion processing pathway the adaptation underlying this distortion of sub-second duration perception occurs. One position is that the LGN and, perhaps, early cortical processing areas are likely sites for the adaptation; an alternative suggestion is that visual area MT+ contains the neural mechanisms for sub-second timing; and a third position proposes that the effect is driven by adaptation at multiple levels of the motion processing pathway. A related issue is in what frame of reference - retinotopic or spatiotopic - does adaptation induced duration distortion occur. We addressed these questions by having participants adapt to a unidirectional random dot kinematogram (RDK), and then measuring perceived duration of a 600 ms test RDK positioned in either the same retinotopic or the same spatiotopic location as the adaptor. We found that, when it did occur, duration distortion of the test stimulus was direction contingent; that is it occurred when the adaptor and test stimuli drifted in the same direction, but not when they drifted in opposite directions. Furthermore the duration compression was evident primarily under retinotopic viewing conditions, with little evidence of duration distortion under spatiotopic viewing conditions. Our results support previous research implicating cortical mechanisms in the duration encoding of sub-second visual events, and reveal that these mechanisms encode duration within a retinotopic frame of reference.
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- Cognitive Science
- Visual Perception