Role of form information in motion pooling and segmentation

Matt Tang, J Dickinson, Troy Visser, M. Edwards, David Badcock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 ARVO. Traditional theories of visual perception have focused on either form or motion processing, implying a functional separation. However, increasing evidence indicates that these features interact at early stages of visual processing. The current study examined a well-known form-motion interaction, where a shape translates along a circular path behind opaque apertures, giving the impression of either independently translating lines (segmentation) or a globally coherent, translating shape. The purpose was to systemically examine how low-level motion information and form information interact to determine which percept is reported. To this end, we used a stimulus with boundaries comprising multiple, spatially-separated Gabor patches with three to eight sides. Results showed that shapes with four or fewer sides appeared to move in a segmented manner, whereas those with more sides were integrated as a solid shape. The separation between directions, rather than the total number of sides, causes this switch between integrated or segmented percepts. We conclude that the change between integration and segmentation depends on whether local motion directions can be independently resolved. We also reconcile previous results on the influence of shape closure on motion integration: Shapes that form open contours cause segmentation, but with no corresponding enhanced sensitivity for shapes forming closed contours. Overall, our results suggest that the resolution of the local motion signal determines whether motion segmentation or integration is perceived with only a small overall influence of form.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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