Kanizsa illusory contours appearing in the plasmodium pattern of Physarum polycephalum

Iori Tani*, Masaki Yamachiyo, Tomohiro Shirakawa, Yukio Pegio Gunji

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum is often used in the implementation of non-linear computation to solve optimization problems, and this organismal feature was not used in this analysis to compute perception and/or sensation in humans. In this paper, we focused on the Kanizsa illusion, which is a well-known visual illusion resulting from the differentiation-integration of the visual field, and compared the illusion with the adaptive network in the plasmodium of P. polycephalum. We demonstrated that the network pattern mimicking the Kanizsa illusion can be produced by an asynchronous automata-fashioned model of the foraging slime mold and by the real plasmodia of P. polycephalum. Because the protoplasm of the plasmodium is transported depending on both local and global computation, it may contain differentiation-integration processes. In this sense, we can extend the idea of perception and computation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberArticle 10
JournalFrontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology
Issue numberFEB
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Asynchronous automata
  • Kanizsa illusion
  • Physarum
  • Unconventional computing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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