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Jacob Duijnhouwer, Richard J. A. van Wezel, Albert V. van den Berg; The role of motion capture in an illusory transformation of optic flow fields. Journal of Vision 2008;8(4):27. doi: 10.1167/8.4.27.
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In the optic flow illusion, the focus of an expanding optic flow field appears shifted when uniform flow is transparently superimposed. The shift is in the direction of the uniform flow, or “inducer.” Current explanations relate the transformation of the expanding optic flow field to perceptual subtraction of the inducer signal. Alternatively, the shift might result from motion capture acting on the perceived focus position. To test this alternative, we replaced expanding target flow with contracting or rotating flow. Current explanations predict focus shifts in expanding and contracting flows that are opposite but of equal magnitude and parallel to the inducer. In rotary flow, the current explanations predict shifts that are perpendicular to the inducer. In contrast, we report larger shift for expansion than for contraction and a component of shift parallel to the inducer for rotary flow. The magnitude of this novel component of shift depended on the target flow speed, the inducer flow speed, and the presentation duration. These results support the idea that motion capture contributes substantially to the optic flow illusion.
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