No priming for global motion in crowding

A. Pavan, M.G. Gall, M. Manassi, M.W. Greenlee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is psychophysical evidence that low-level priming, e.g., from oriented gratings, as well as high-level semantic priming, survives crowding. We investigated priming for global translational motion in crowded and noncrowded conditions. The results indicated that reliable motion priming occurs in the noncrowded condition, but motion priming does not survive crowding. Crowding persisted despite variations in the direction of the flankers with respect to the prime's direction. Motion priming was still absent under crowding when 85% of the flankers moved in the same direction as the prime. Crowding also persisted despite variations in the speed of the flankers relative to the prime even when the flankers' speed was four times slower than the speed of the prime. However, a priming effect was evident when the prime's spatial location was precued and its distance to the flankers increased, suggesting a release from crowding. These results suggest that transient attention induced by precueing the spatial location of the prime may improve subjects' ability to discriminate its direction. Spatial cueing could act to decrease the integration field, thereby diminishing the influence of nearby distracters. In an additional experiment in which we used fewer flankers, we found a priming effect under conditions in which the interelement distance varied between flankers and prime. Overall, the results suggest that motion priming is strongly affected by crowding, but transient attention can partially retrieve such facilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number25
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

This research was supported by grants from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (author AP), the University of Regensburg and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) (author MWG, GR988/20-2). We also thank Ms. Jasmin Wittmann for her assistance with data collection. MM was supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation fellowship P2ELP3_158876.


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