A theory of dynamic occluded and illusory object perception.J Exp Psychol Gen. 2006 Nov; 135(4):513-41.JE
Humans see whole objects from input fragmented in space and time, yet spatiotemporal object perception is poorly understood. The authors propose the theory of spatiotemporal relatability (STR), which describes the visual information and processes that allow visible fragments revealed at different times and places, due to motion and occlusion, to be assembled into unitary perceived objects. They present a formalization of STR that specifies spatial and temporal relations for object formation. Predictions from the theory regarding conditions that lead to unit formation were tested and confirmed in experiments with dynamic and static, occluded and illusory objects. Moreover, the results support the identity hypothesis of a common process for amodal and modal contour interpolation and provide new evidence regarding the relative efficiency of static and dynamic object formation. STR postulates a mental representation, the dynamic visual icon, that briefly maintains shapes and updates positions of occluded fragments to connect them with visible regions. The theory offers a unified account of interpolation processes for static, dynamic, occluded, and illusory objects.