Ternus phenomenon

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A form of apparent movement that is usually demonstrated with a row of four evenly spaced elements (dots or other identical shapes) labelled A, B, C, and D from left to right and presented in a sequence of brief flashes as follows: first A, B, and C all together, then B, C, and D, then A, B, and C again, and so on. If the interstimulus interval is long, then no apparent movement is seen; with an intermediate interstimulus interval of about 200 milliseconds (under what Ternus called optimal conditions) group movement occurs as a single triplet of elements appears to move forwards and backwards in step without any appearance of two of the elements remaining fixed; and as the interstimulus interval is shortened further element movement occurs as A appears to hop forwards and backwards over B and C, which appear to remain stationary. Also called a Ternus display. See also apparent movement, phantom grating, random-dot kinematogram. [Named after the German Gestalt psychologist Josef Ternus (1892–1959) who first described it in 1926]

Subjects: Psychology.

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