The primary role of flow processing in the identification of scene-relative object movement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Retinal image motion could be due to movement of the observer through space or an object relative to the scene. Optic flow, form, and change of position cues all provide information that could be used to separate out retinal motion due to object movement from retinal motion due to observer movement. In Experiment 1 we used a minimal display to examine the contribution of optic flow and form cues. Human participants indicated the direction of movement of a probe object presented against a background of radially moving pairs of dots. By independently controlling the orientation of each dot pair, we were able to put flow cues to self-movement direction (the point from which all the motion radiated) and form cues to self-movement direction (the point all the dot pairs were oriented towards) in conflict. We found that only flow cues influenced perceived probe movement. In Experiment 2 we switched to a rich stereo display comprised of 3D objects to examine the contribution of flow and position cues. We moved the scene objects to simulate a lateral translation and counter-rotation of gaze. By changing the polarity of the scene objects (from light to dark and vice-versa) between frames, we placed flow cues to self-movement direction in opposition to change of position cues. We found that again flow cues dominated the perceived probe movement relative to the scene. Taken together, these experiments indicate the neural network that processes optic flow has a primary role in the identification of scene-relative object movement.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
StateAccepted/In press - 7 Sep 2017