Motion, not masking, provides the medium for feature attribution.
Understanding the dynamics of how separate features combine to form holistic object representations is a central problem in visual cognition. Feature attribution (also known as feature transposition and feature inheritance) refers to the later of two stimuli expressing the features belonging to the earlier one. Both visual masking and apparent motion are implicated in feature attribution. We found that when apparent motion occurs without masking, it correlates positively with feature attribution. Moreover, when apparent motion occurs with masking, feature attribution remains positively correlated with apparent motion after the contribution of masking is factored out, but does not correlate with masking after the contribution of apparent motion is similarly factored out. Hence, motion processes on their own provide the effective medium for feature attribution. Our results clarify the dynamics of feature binding in the formation of integral and unitary object representations in human vision.