One account explained motion in the latter as arising from differential retinal processing times for bright and dim image regions (Faubert & Herbert, 1999). However, this account is not consistent with the observation that after fixation, apparent rotation slows to a stop over several seconds.
Slowing to a stop implies a saturating adaptive process.
we show that three known visual mechanisms can predict the illusion: (1) nonlinear retinal adaptation to luminance, in which the light response and dark response adapt most rapidly at the lightest and darkest parts of the image, respectively; followed (optionally) by (2) contrast normalization; and then by (3) a standard motion detector ... operating at an appropriate scale
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