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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.22.541675

Conflict between short- and long-term experiences affects visual perception by modulating sensory or motor response system: evidence from Bayesian inference models

J.-Y.Wang X.-M. Gong Q. Sun
Huge studies have explored the effects of short- and long-term experiences on visual perception, respectively. However, no study investigated whether and how the conflict between the two types of experiences affected our visual perception. To address this question, we adopted a task of estimating simulated self-motion directions (i.e., headings) from optic flow, in which a long-term experience - straight-forward motion is more often than lateral motion - plays an important role. The long-term experience is learned daily or encoded in our brains from birth. The heading directions in the experiment were selected from three different distributions, generating different conflicts between short- and long-term experiences. The results showed that both estimation errors and sizes of serial dependence of previously seen headings on current heading estimates varied when the experience conflict changed. Finally, we developed two Bayesian inference models, assuming that the experience conflict affected visual perception by influencing the sensory representations likelihood distribution or motor decision process. We found that both models captured participants estimation errors and serial dependences well in three distributions. In conclusion, the current study revealed the effects of the conflict between short- and long-term experiences on visual perception and preliminarily uncovered that Bayesian inference theory could explain the effects. Moreover, the study implied that the experience conflict affected visual perception by modulating our sensory or motor response systems.