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Paul A. Warren, Simon K. Rushton; Perception of object trajectory: Parsing retinal motion into self and object movement components. Journal of Vision 2007;7(11):2. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/7.11.2.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
A moving observer needs to be able to estimate the trajectory of other objects moving in the scene. Without the ability to do so, it would be difficult to avoid obstacles or catch a ball. We hypothesized that neural mechanisms sensitive to the patterns of motion generated on the retina during self-movement (optic flow) play a key role in this process, “parsing” motion due to self-movement from that due to object movement. We investigated this “flow parsing” hypothesis by measuring the perceived trajectory of a moving probe placed within a flow field that was consistent with movement of the observer. In the first experiment, the flow field was consistent with an eye rotation; in the second experiment, it was consistent with a lateral translation of the eyes. We manipulated the distance of the probe in both experiments and assessed the consequences. As predicted by the flow parsing hypothesis, manipulating the distance of the probe had differing effects on the perceived trajectory of the probe in the two experiments. The results were consistent with the scene geometry and the type of simulated self-movement. In a third experiment, we explored the contribution of local and global motion processing to the results of the first two experiments. The data suggest that the parsing process involves global motion processing, not just local motion contrast. The findings of this study support a role for optic flow processing in the perception of object movement during self-movement.
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