In the flash-grab effect, when a disk is flashed on a moving background at the moment it reverses direction, the perceived location of the disk is strongly displaced in the direction of the motion that follows the reversal. Here, we ask whether increased expectation of the reversal reduces its effect on the motion-induced shift, as suggested by predictive coding models with first order predictions. Across four experiments we find that when the reversal is expected, the illusion gets stronger, not weaker. We rule out accumulating motion adaptation as a contributing factor. The pattern of results cannot be accounted for by first-order predictions of location. Instead, it appears that second-order predictions of event timing play a role. Specifically, we conclude that temporal expectation causes a transient increase in temporal attention, boosting the strength of the motion signal and thereby increasing the strength of the illusion.
EvH, TB, KC, and HH were supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council's Discovery Projects funding scheme (project DP180102268). PC was supported by grants from Dartmouth College and from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Canada.