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Li Li, Jing Chen, Xiaozhe Peng; Influence of visual path information on human heading perception during rotation. Journal of Vision 2009;9(3):29. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/9.3.29.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
How does visual path information influence people's perception of their instantaneous direction of self-motion (heading)? We have previously shown that humans can perceive heading without direct access to visual path information. Here we vary two key parameters for estimating heading from optic flow, the field of view (FOV) and the depth range of environmental points, to investigate the conditions under which visual path information influences human heading perception. The display simulated an observer traveling on a circular path. Observers used a joystick to rotate their line of sight until deemed aligned with true heading. Four FOV sizes (110 × 94°, 48 × 41°, 16 × 14°, 8 × 7°) and depth ranges (6–50 m, 6–25 m, 6–12.5 m, 6–9 m) were tested. Consistent with our computational modeling results, heading bias increased with the reduction of FOV or depth range when the display provided a sequence of velocity fields but no direct path information. When the display provided path information, heading bias was not influenced as much by the reduction of FOV or depth range. We conclude that human heading and path perception involve separate visual processes. Path helps heading perception when the display does not contain enough optic-flow information for heading estimation during rotation.
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