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Jejoong Kim, Eunice L. Jung, Sang-Hun Lee, Randolph Blake; A new technique for generating disordered point-light animations for the study of biological motion perception. Journal of Vision 2015;15(11):13. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.11.13.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Studies of biological motion perception often use stimuli depicting human actions portrayed via point-light (PL) displays. Typically, counterpart, or control, stimuli for PL biological motion are created by spatially scrambling motion trajectories of individual PL dots. Depending on the purpose of the study, however, this procedure may be inappropriate as a foil for genuine PL animations, because spatial scrambling not only disrupts coherent motion activity but also eliminates pair-wise motion relationships among dots and, unless corrected, alters the spatial spread of PL dot motions. We introduce a new technique for producing perturbed PL animations, called pair-wise shuffled motion, that preserves the elementary features of biological motion in spatial and motion energy domains and only disrupts the specific sense of global, coherent perception of biological motion. First we describe the procedure for creating pair-wise shuffled motion sequences. Next we compare unperturbed PL animations to pair-wise shuffled motion, to spatially scrambled motion, and to spatially constrained scrambled motion in terms of spatial distributions of the dots, spatiotemporal amplitude spectra derived from Fourier analysis of those sequences, and space-time motion energy associated with those perturbed animations. We then show that the results from those analyses generalize to a large family of PL animations, including the widely used PL walker. Finally we present results from a two-interval forced-choice biological-motion discrimination experiment comparing the robustness of scrambled and pair-wise shuffled motions as foil stimuli. Results from these comparisons suggest that pair-wise shuffled motion offers advantages as a foil stimulus compared to foils using the conventional scrambling technique. Pair-wise shuffled motion provides an additional, effective control display for evaluating PL biological motion perception in future psychophysical, computational, and imaging studies that focus on mechanisms of processing spatiotemporal information signifying biological motion within PL displays.
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