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random-dot kinematogram

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Two or more patterns of random dots presented in sequence, each having an area or shape within it that has no visible border but is identical in both or all the patterns and is displaced a short distance from one pattern to the next. If viewed singly or in slow succession, the patterns appear random and the displaced area remains totally invisible, but if viewed in rapid succession, with interstimulus intervals between approximately 10 and 100 milliseconds for displacements of 5 to 40 minutes of arc (sixtieths of a degree) of visual angle, the displaced area stands out from the background pattern of dots with an illusory contour and appears to move as a block. In some displays the area of identical dots changes slightly in outline, though not in the relative positions of its dots, from one frame to the next, and in one popular example it depicts a Dalmatian dog walking in a spotty environment. See also apparent movement, visual illusion. Compare random-dot stereogram, Ternus phenomenon. [From Greek kinema, kinematos motion + gramme a line]

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