July 2013
Volume 13, Issue 9
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   July 2013
The curvature of the background affects the perception of 3D object motion
Author Affiliations
  • Junjun Zhang
    George Washington University
  • Myron Braunstein
    University of California, Irvine
  • George Andersen
    University of California, Riverside
Journal of Vision July 2013, Vol.13, 706. doi:10.1167/13.9.706
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      Junjun Zhang, Myron Braunstein, George Andersen; The curvature of the background affects the perception of 3D object motion. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):706. doi: 10.1167/13.9.706.

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

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Optical contact with a flat background is important for the perception of object location in a 3D scene (Meng & Sedgwick, 2001, 2002) and for the perception of 3D object motion with cast shadows (Kersten, 1997). In the present study, we investigated the effect of background curvature on the perceived trajectory of an object moving in a 3D scene. In the first experiment, observers were presented with a sphere moving in a horizontal plane at eye level against a grid background. The trajectory of the sphere was concave, convex or straight, indicated by changes in its angular size and angular speed during the motion sequence. The background was flat or curved in the horizontal direction, with concave or convex curvature indicated by the spacing of the horizontal and vertical grid lines. Observers were asked to judge the direction of the sphere’s motion (convex or concave). The results showed that the judged curvature of the object’s motion depended almost entirely on the direction of curvature of the background. In the second experiment, observers were presented with two displays on each trial, differing in both the amount of curvature of the motion path and the amount of curvature of the background. Both curvatures were in the same direction (either convex or concave). The observers were asked to judge which display showed the more curved motion path. Judgments of the curvature of the sphere's motion were largely determined by the curvature of the background, with the motion path of an object judged as more curved when it was displayed against a more curved background. Our results clearly indicate that, when an object is moving against a curved background, both the perceived direction and the perceived amount of curvature of the object's trajectory depend primarily on the curvature of the background.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013


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