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Silencing is a new illusion that shows it's hard to notice when moving objects change

SILENCING demonstrates the tight coupling of motion and object appearance. Simply by changing the retinotopic coordinates—moving the object or the eyes—it is possible to silence awareness of visual change, causing objects that had once been obviously dynamic to suddenly appear static.

Motion silences awareness of color changes

Instructions: Play the movie while looking at the small white speck in the center of the ring. At first, the ring is motionless and it's easy to tell that the dots are changing color. When the ring begins to rotate, the dots suddenly appear to stop changing. But in reality they are changing the entire time. Take a look.

The same is true of changes in brightness, size, and shape:
Motion silences awareness of brightness changes

The paper, titled Motion silences awareness of visual change, was published online in Current Biology on January 6, 2011. It was written by graduate student Jordan Suchow and professor George Alvarez, both in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University.

These demos were created by Jordan Suchow ( and George Alvarez, and first appeared in a paper in Current Biology.

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