autokinetic effect


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au·to·ki·net·ic ef·fect

in psychology, the apparent drifting about of a small, fixed, spot of light that is being observed in a dark room.

autokinetic effect

The misperception of movement in a stationary object or source of light, which is due to saccadic movement of the eyes in response to low light, and misinterpreted as movement of the light source, as there are no other visible objects visible to which to relate the perceived movement.
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References in periodicals archive ?
You're friends with a psychic medium who you think can communicate with our dead relatives, and you think seeing some moving light in your room is evidence of this (it's not; it's called the "autokinetic effect").
Autokinesis, sometimes called autokinetic effect, is perceived movement exhibited by a static dim light when it is stared at in the dark.
For example, Sherif's (1937) studies of the autokinetic effect examined the emergence of group norms in an ambiguous situation.