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Speed change discrimination for motion in depth using constant world and retinal speeds

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Abstract

Motion at constant speed in the world maps into retinal motion very differently for lateral motion and motion in depth. The former is close to linear, for the latter, constant speed objects accelerate on the retina as they approach. Motion in depth is frequently studied using speeds that are constant on the retina, and are thus not consistent with real-world constant motion. Our aim here was to test whether this matters: are we more sensitive to real-world motion? We measured speed change discrimination for objects undergoing accelerating retinal motion in depth (consistent with constant real-world speed), and constant retinal motion in depth (consistent with real-world deceleration). Our stimuli contained both looming and binocular disparity cues to motion in depth. We used a speed change discrimination task to obtain thresholds for conditions with and without binocular and looming motion in depth cues. We found that speed change discrimination thresholds were similar for accelerating retinal speed and constant retinal speed and were notably poor compared to classic speed discrimination thresholds. We conclude that the ecologically valid retinal acceleration in our stimuli neither helps, nor hinders, our ability to make judgements in a speed change discrimination task.
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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0214766
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2019

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