The seeing-more-than-is-there phenomenon: Implications for the locus of iconic storage

Michael McCloskey, Michael J. Watkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


When a target figure is moved back and forth behind a window cut in an opaque screen, more of the figure is seen at a given instant than is physically present. This finding implies that the information presented at one instant is stored in iconic form so that it can be integrated with information presented at a slightly later instant. Two experiments, each with 10 undergraduates, explored the illusion and showed that it can be readily demonstrated under a variety of conditions. A 3rd experiment with 8 undergraduates indicated that it can occur in the absence of appreciable eye movements. This latter finding, together with various supporting arguments, is taken as evidence against an explanation of the illusion in terms of the target image being painted across the retina. Rather, it appears that successive sections of the target item are projected onto the same retinal sector. It is concluded that the iconic storage implied by the illusion occurs at a level more central than that of the retinal receptors. (15 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)553-564
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 1 1978


  • eye movement &
  • target figure movement behind window in opaque screen, seeing-more-than-is-there illusion, implications for central vs retinal neurophysiological processes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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