August 2012
Volume 12, Issue 9
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2012
Linear egomotion signals are mostly ignored in the interpretation of the self-generated optic flow
Author Affiliations
  • Carlo Fantoni
    Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems@UniTn, Italian Institute of Technology
  • Giovanni Mancuso
    Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems@UniTn, Italian Institute of Technology\nCIMeC, Center for Mind/Brain Sciences, University of Trento
  • Corrado Caudek
    Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems@UniTn, Italian Institute of Technology\nDepartment of Psychology, University of Florence
  • Fulvio Domini
    Center for Neuroscience and Cognitive Systems@UniTn, Italian Institute of Technology\nDepartment of Cognitive, Linguistic & Psychological Sciences, Brown University
Journal of Vision August 2012, Vol.12, 1046. doi:10.1167/12.9.1046
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      Carlo Fantoni, Giovanni Mancuso, Corrado Caudek, Fulvio Domini; Linear egomotion signals are mostly ignored in the interpretation of the self-generated optic flow. Journal of Vision 2012;12(9):1046. doi: 10.1167/12.9.1046.

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

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Abstract

An observer who approaches a planar surface that rotates about the vertical axis (e.g., a flag hinging on a pole) generates the same Optic Flow (OF) that is produced by a planar surface that rotates about an horizontal axis and it is viewed by a static observer. In spite of this ambiguity, perceived surface orientation by the active observer is usually veridical. This result is consistent with an interpretation of the OF that takes into account egomotion signals (Wexler, 2003). Here, we suggest an alternative interpretation based on a computational model that ignores linear egomotion signals (Domini et al., VSS 2012). An implication of our model is that perceived orientation should flip by 90° whenever the OF undergoes a translational motion in a direction orthogonal to the surface axis of rotation. OF translational motion is always present when an observer moves towards or away from a stimulus display, due to the natural rotations and translations of the head. In the present experiments, we tested our alternative explanation by asking observers to judge surface orientation in three conditions: (1) when a random-dot planar surface rotated about a stationary axis, (2) when the axis of rotation was tethered to a coordinate system centered on the observer’s head, so as to eliminate the translational components of the OF, and (3) when a translational component was added to the OF produced in (2). The results are consistent with the predictions of our model. Perceived surface orientation (i) was veridical in (1), (ii) was ambiguous in (2), and (iii) underwent a 90° flip with respect to veridical in (3). A similar pattern of results was found when the same OFs, generated by the observer’s movements, were replayed to a static observer.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2012

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