December 2010
Volume 10, Issue 15
Free
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   December 2010
Differential effects of contrast and field size on the perception of object-motion and self-motion: new evidence for ambient and focal modes of vision
Author Affiliations
  • Xiaoyu Zhang
    Psychology Department, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA
  • John J. Lawrence
    Psychology Department, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA
  • Alexander T. Nalbandian
    Psychology Department, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA
  • D. Alfred Owens
    Psychology Department, Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster, PA, USA
Journal of Vision December 2010, Vol.10, 36. doi:10.1167/10.15.36
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      Xiaoyu Zhang, John J. Lawrence, Alexander T. Nalbandian, D. Alfred Owens; Differential effects of contrast and field size on the perception of object-motion and self-motion: new evidence for ambient and focal modes of vision. Journal of Vision 2010;10(15):36. doi: 10.1167/10.15.36.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

Several studies have shown that reduced contrast causes an illusory reduction in the perceived speed of objects or surfaces (Thompson, 1982). Does this illusion also occur for visual perception of self-motion? To answer this question, we tested the effects of reduced contrast and limited field of view (FOV) on visual perception of (I) object-motion and (II) self-motion. In Experiment I, participants matched the apparent speed of two rotating disks. Like the “Thompson Effect,” reduced contrast produced a significant decrease in perceived speed of rotation. Perceived speed was not affected, however, when FOV was reduced to 5°. In Experiment II, posture and vection were recorded while participants viewed the interior of a large rotating drum, which created roll vection. Unlike the “Thompson Effect,” reduced contrast had no effect on perception of self-motion or posture. Both measures decreased significantly, however, when FOV was reduced to 5°. These results represent a double dissociation of two modes of motion perception: Contrast affects perception of object-motion but not perception of self-motion; whereas, reduced FOV affects perception of self-motion but not perception of object-motion. Consistent with previous studies of the effects of blur and reduced luminance on vection and vehicle control (Leibowitz et al., 1979; Owens et al. 1999, 2007, 2010), the present findings add evidence for two functionally distinct “modes of vision”: a focal mode that mediates object perception and an ambient mode that mediates perception of posture and self-motion (Schneider, 1967; Held, 1968; Trevarthen, 1968; Mishkin et al., 1983; Goodale & Milner, 1992).

Acknowledgments
Supported by the Hackman Summer Scholars Program, Franklin and Marshall College. 
References
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Mishkin, M., Ungerleider, L. G., Macko, K. A.(1983). Object vision and spatial vision: Two cortical pathways. Trends in Neuroscience, 6, 414–417.
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