Spatial grouping determines temporal integration.
To make sense out of a continuously changing visual world, people need to integrate features across space and time. Despite more than a century of research, the mechanisms of features integration are still a matter of debate. To examine how temporal and spatial integration interact, the authors measured the amount of temporal fusion (a measure of temporal integration) for different spatial layouts. They found that spatial grouping by proximity and similarity can completely block temporal integration. Computer simulations with a simple neural network capture these findings very well, suggesting that the proposed spatial grouping operations may occur already at an early stage of visual information processing.