Foundations Of Cognitive Science

Apparent Motion

This is a perceptual phenomenon that occurs when we perceive motion in two or more static images that are presented in succession with appropriate spatial and temporal displacements. The ability to perceive this phenomenon is mediated by the visuospatial pathway of the visual association regions of the brain.

We see examples of this phenomenon almost everyday when we view television or movies.

This is an example of a cognitively impenetrable perception. That is, even though we know that the images are not moving, we still perceive motion.


  1. Marr, D. (1982). Vision. Freeman: San Francisco, pp.159-182.
  2. Zeki, S. (1992). The visual image in mind & brain. Scientific American, 241(3), 150-162.

(Revised November 2009)