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autokinetic effect

noun, Psychology
1.
apparent motion of a single point of light or a small object when presented on a dark field and observed continuously.
Also called autokinetic illusion.
Origin
1930-1935
1930-35
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Encyclopedia Article for autokinetic effect

illusory movement of a single still object, usually a stationary pinpoint of light used in psychology experiments in dark rooms. As one stares at a fixed point of light, one's eye muscles become fatigued, causing a slight eye movement. Without the usual reference points available in the everyday environment, the movement of the image on the retina is perceived as its actual movement in space

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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