Standing Wave Masking

Standing Wave Illusion demos to accompany Enns et al (2002)

  • Enns, J.T. (2002). Visual binding in the standing wave illusion. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 9, 489-496. [pdf]

This paper can be downloaded in pdf form. Download paper.

The standing wave illusion
When two video-frames are alternated at the appropriate rate, one with a central bar and the other with two flanking bars, the central bar becomes invisible. This has been called the ‘standing wave illusion’ (Macknik & Livingstone, 1998; Macknik & Haglund, 1999; Macknik, Martinez-Conde & Haglund, 2000).

The question
Is the standing wave illusion determined only by local spatial and temporal interactions, or are higher-level processes of shape and surface perception also involved?

A warning about internet demonstrations
Accurate display timing cannot be guaranteed. Actual timing will depend on the refresh rate of the viewing screen and on the degree to which the screen is synchronized with the timing of the movie. These demonstrations were designed only to give you a general overview of the factors that influence this form of masking. To properly study masking, use specialized software in which video displays are synchronized precisely to the video screen being used.

Demonstration 1: Feature-inheritance of masked target bars

Demonstration 2: Non-local influences

Demonstration 3: Shape similarity influences masking

Demonstration 4: Surface relations influence masking