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Hugh R. Wilson, Jeffrey Fung; Effect of motion discontinuities on discrimination of periodic trajectories. Journal of Vision 2016;16(3):24. doi: 10.1167/16.3.24.
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© 2017 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Many biologically important motions are described by periodic trajectories. Radial frequency (RF) trajectories are one example, in which the motion of a difference of Gaussians (DOG) target moves along a path described by a sinusoidal deviation of the radius from a perfect circle (Or, Thabet, Wilkinson, & Wilson, 2011). Here we explore the hypothesis that visual processing of RF trajectories involves global spatio-temporal processes that are disrupted by motion discontinuity. To test this hypothesis, RF trajectories were used that interspersed smooth, continuous motion with three or four discontinuous jumps to other portions of the trajectory. These jumps were arranged so that the entire trajectory was traversed in the same amount of time as in the continuous motion control condition. The motion discontinuities increased thresholds by a factor of approximately 2.1 relative to continuous motion. This result provides support for global spatio-temporal processing of RF motion trajectories. Comparison with previous results suggests that motion discontinuities erase memory for earlier parts of the trajectory, thereby causing thresholds to be based on only the final segment viewed. Finally, it is shown that RF trajectories obey the 1/3 power law characteristic of biological motion.
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