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Georgios K. Kountouriotis, Katy A. Shire, Callum D. Mole, Peter H. Gardner, Natasha Merat, Richard M. Wilkie; Optic flow asymmetries bias high-speed steering along roads. Journal of Vision 2013;13(10):23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/13.10.23.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
How do animals and insects use visual information to move through the world successfully? Optic flow, the pattern of motion at the eye, is a powerful source of information about self-motion. Insects and humans are sensitive to the global pattern of optic flow and try to maintain flow symmetry when flying or walking. The environments humans encounter, however, often contain demarcated paths that constrain future trajectories (e.g., roads), and steering has been successfully modeled using only road edge information. Here we examine whether flow asymmetries from a textured ground plane influences humans steering along demarcated paths. Using a virtual reality simulator we observed that different textures on either side of the path caused predictable biases to steering trajectories, consistent with participants reducing flow asymmetries. We also generated conditions where one textured region had no flow (either the texture was removed or the textured region was static). Despite the presence of visible path information, participants were biased toward the no-flow region consistent with reducing flow asymmetries. We conclude that optic flow asymmetries can lead to biased locomotor steering even when traveling along demarcated paths.
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