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Read about the latest research on visual perception published in Psychological Science.

Linguistic Representations of Motion Do Not Depend on the Visual Motion System

Andrea Pavan and Giosuè Baggio

How is the meaning of a verb phrase describing motion constructed? Some theories say the construction relies on representations of motion in the sensory cortex, but others disagree. Participants were adapted to actual leftward or rightward motion or implied leftward or rightward motion. Immediately after adaptation, participants heard a verb phrase that did or did not suggest leftward or rightward movement and were asked to indicate which direction (left or right) was suggested by the verb phrase. Participants’ responses were faster when the direction of the stimulus motion — whether real or implied — was the same as that indicated in the verb phrase. This suggests that visual and linguistic representation of motion can be disassociated.

Do Local and Global Perceptual Biases Tell Us Anything About Local and Global Selective Attention?

Serge Caparos, Karina J. Linnell, Andrew J. Bremner, Jan W. de Fockert, and Jules Davidoff

In this study, the researchers examined the link between global and local perceptual bias (the tendency to prioritize processing of the local or the global elements in a figure) and global and local attention by showing Himba participants (who have a known local bias) and British participants (who do not have this bias) several small crosses or squares (local elements) forming a larger cross or square (global element). Participants had to identify the shape of the global or the local element as quickly as possible. The researchers found that the Himba participants performed better than did British participants in both conditions, indicating they had greater overall attentional control and challenging the view that there is a straightforward relationship between bias and attention.