Position encoding of the centres of global structure: Separate form and motion processes

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The retinal flow of information during locomotion provides cues to instantaneous heading. Reconciliation of observer trajectory with the internal representation of the environment implies that the positions of the centre of structure of global motion can be localized relative to points in the visual field. Humans are also sensitive to global structure in Glass patterns, which can approximate temporally integrated optic flow. Encoding of the position of centre of structure of Glass patterns could augment the motion information. However, Glass-like pattern structure could also be present in the texture of objects and indicate their centres, raising the question of whether the centres of form and motion patterns are encoded separately.Psychophysical methods are used to examine ability to localize the centres of structure of Glass and global dot motion (GDM) patterns. Radial and concentric Glass patterns are localized more precisely than spiral Glass patterns but performance in localizing the centres of radial, concentric and spiral GDM patterns is equally precise. Also, Glass patterns centres can be localized at signal levels close to their threshold for discrimination from wholly incoherent patterns but GDM pattern centres cannot, suggesting that detectors for looming and rotating stimuli exist that do not rely on the provision of a centre of structure.Collectively, our results provide evidence for independent encoding of the positions of the centres of structure of global motion and form patterns. These positions can be accurately and precisely localized within the visual field. While the centres of structure of a number of form patterns can be simultaneously encoded, allowing their positions to be compared, only a single focus of expansion for optic flow is returned.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)648-656
JournalVision Research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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