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Chongyue He, Bao Ngoc Nguyen, Yu Man Chan, Allison Maree McKendrick; Illusory Motion Perception Is Associated with Contrast Discrimination but Not Motion Sensitivity, Self-Reported Visual Discomfort, or Migraine Status. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2020;61(8):43. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/iovs.61.8.43.
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Altered visual processing of motion and contrast has been previously reported in people with migraine. One possible manifestation of this altered visual processing is increased self-reported susceptibility to visual illusions of contrast and motion. Here, we use the Fraser–Wilcox illusion to explore individual differences in motion illusion strength in people with and without migraine. The motion-inducing mechanisms of the Fraser–Wilcox illusion are purported to be contrast dependent. To better understand the mechanisms of the illusion, as well as visual processing anomalies in migraine, we explored whether migraine status, susceptibility to visual discomfort, contrast discrimination, or motion sensitivity are related to quantified motion illusion strength.
Thirty-six (16 with aura, 20 without aura) people with migraine and 20 headache-free controls participated. Outcome measures were motion illusion strength (the physical motion speed that counterbalanced the illusory motion), motion sensitivity, and contrast discrimination thresholds (measured for each contrast pair that formed part of the illusory motion stimulus). Typical daily visual discomfort was self-reported via questionnaire.
Motion illusion strength was negatively correlated with contrast discrimination threshold (r = –0.271, P = 0.04) but was not associated with motion sensitivity or migraine status. People with migraine with aura reported experiencing visual discomfort more frequently than the control group (P = 0.001). Self-reported visual discomfort did not relate to quantified perceptual motion illusion strength.
Individuals with better contrast discrimination tend to perceive faster illusory motion regardless of migraine status.
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