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Disambiguating serial effects of multiple timescales

Gekas, Nikos; McDermott, Kyle C.; Mamassian, Pascal


Kyle C. McDermott

Pascal Mamassian


What has been previously experienced can systematically affect human perception in the present. We designed a novel psychophysical experiment to measure the perceptual effects of adapting to dynamically changing stimulus statistics. Observers are presented with a series of oriented Gabor patches and are asked occasionally to judge the orientation of highly ambiguous test patches. We developed a computational model to quantify the influence of past stimuli presentations on the observers' perception of test stimuli over multiple timescales and to show that this influence is distinguishable from simple response biases. The experimental results reveal that perception is attracted toward the very recent past and simultaneously repulsed from stimuli presented at short to medium timescales and attracted to presentations further in the past. All effects differ significantly both on their relative strength and their respective duration. Our model provides a structured way of quantifying serial effects in psychophysical experiments, and it could help experimenters in identifying such effects in their data and distinguish them from less interesting response biases.


Gekas, N., McDermott, K. C., & Mamassian, P. (2019). Disambiguating serial effects of multiple timescales. Journal of Vision, 19(6), Article 24.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 27, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 28, 2019
Publication Date 2019-06
Deposit Date Dec 7, 2021
Publicly Available Date Dec 7, 2021
Journal Journal of Vision
Publisher Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 6
Article Number 24
Public URL


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