Spatiotemporal Interpolation & Length Recovery with Philip J. Kellman (UCLA) and Janelle Liu (Columbia University)

Palmer, Kellman and Shipley (2006) proposed a model of spatiotemporal relatability (STR) to explain how the visual system processes dynamically occluded objects. The model specifies relations in space and time that lead to object formation. Tests of the model indicated that object completion, as shown by objective performance advantages in shape discrimination, was predicted by STR. The following movies illustrate conditions that show that dynamic object formation by STR is essential for recovery of metric properties such as length.

The objects and occluder were designed so that objects cannot be perceptually completed from information in any static frame of the animation sequence. 
Movie-2 show the STI condition as a white illusory triangle specified by sequential partial occlusions of black background elements in its path. Spatiotemporal (vs. spatial) interpolation was ensured by allowing no more than one vertex of the triangle to be visible at any moment. 
Movie-3 The triangle was specified in the control condition as three dots located at the vertices.Although the dots provided the same spatial and timing information as in the STI condition, they did not induce perception of interpolated contours or a coherent object. 
Conclusions. The data from our experiment show that STI can produce object representations with accurate metric properties. An object constructed through STI does not exist at any moment in the stimulus, yet its size appears to be accurately encoded. Cognitive inferences about length based on position and timing (control condition) were much less accurate, suggesting a special role of perceptual object formation from STI in producing representations of functionally important object properties.

Palmer, E. M., Kellman, P. J., & Shipley, T. F. (2006). A theory of dynamic occluded and illusory object perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 135, 513–541.