Animation basics: The optical illusion of motion - TED-Ed
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"The Photoplay: A Psychological Study" (1916) by Hugo Münsterberg (pdf)
"The Myth of Persistence of Vision Revisited" by Joseph and Barbara Anderson, from Journal of Film and Video vol. 45 no. 1 (Spring 1993): 3-12. Here's a paper outlining the chronic misdiagnosis of the physiology involved in the perception of apparent motion over the years:
"Time and the Brain (or, What's Happening in the Eagleman Lab)" Neuroscientist David Eagleman discusses his research into the mechanisms of time perception.
"Animation in Palaeolithic art: a pre-echo of cinema" from Antiquity Vol. 86 No. 332 (2012): 316-324. Paleolithic researchers Marc Azéma1 & Florent Rivére describe their discoveries of sequential cave-art and thaumatropes (spinning disk animations) dating from the Paleolithic Age. Here's a YouTube video accompanying the article and link to paper (behind a paywall).
"Prehistoric cinema: A silver screen on the cave wall" by Catherine Brahic. Link to pdf file of article on the above findings from New Scientist #2896/97, 22-29 Dec 2012
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