The ability to judge an object's orientation with respect to gravitational vertical relies on an egocentric reference frame that is maintained using not only vestibular cues but also contextual cues provided in the visual scene. Although much is known about how static contextual cues are incorporated into the egocentric reference frame, it is also important to understand how changes in these cues affect perception, since we move about in a world that is itself dynamic. To explore these temporal factors, we used a variant of the rod-and-frame illusion, in which participants indicated the perceived orientation of a briefly flashed rod (5-msec duration) presented before or after the onset of a tilted frame. The frame was found to bias the perceived orientation of rods presented as much as 185 msec before frame onset. To explain this postdictive effect, we propose a differential latency model, where the latency of the orientation judgment is greater than the latency of the contextual cues' initial impact on the egocentric reference frame. In a subsequent test of this model, we decreased the luminance of the rod, which is known to increase visual afferent delays and slow decision processes. This further slowing of the orientation judgment caused the frame-induced bias to affect the perceived orientation of rods presented even further in advance of the frame. These findings indicate that the brain fails to compensate for a mismatch between the timing of orientation judgments and the incorporation of visual cues into the egocentric reference frame.

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