The contribution of the magnocellular stream to visual feature binding was examined psychophysically through the use of isoluminant stimuli. Subjects were presented with three briefly flashed colored letters arranged in an array and asked to identify the shape and color of the center letter. The rate of illusory conjunctions was much higher when the letters were isoluminant with a gray background, compared to when the letters were either brighter or dimmer. Over 90% of conjunction errors involved pairing the wrong shape with the correct color, rather than vice versa. Directing attention to the target location with a nonisoluminant cue did not reduce illusory conjunctions. High rates of binding errors under isoluminance are interpreted here in terms of abnormalities in visual form processing rather than an attentional effect. In another experiment designed to examine the role of synchrony in feature binding, the rate of illusory conjunctions was highest when flanking letters were presented before the central target letter and not synchronously.

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