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  Does the Paradoxical Perception of Motion in Depth Reflect an “Optimal” Solution?

Welchman, A. (2005). Does the Paradoxical Perception of Motion in Depth Reflect an “Optimal” Solution?. Poster presented at 8th Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 2005), Tübingen, Germany.

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 Creators:
Welchman, AE1, 2, Author           
Affiliations:
1Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497797              
2Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, Spemannstrasse 38, 72076 Tübingen, DE, ou_1497794              

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 Abstract: How do we decide whether an object approaching us will hit us? The optic array provides information sufficient for us to determine the approaching trajectory of a projectile. However, when
using binocular information, two previous studies [1,2] have reported that observers overestimate
the angular approach of a presented motion-in-depth trajectory. Specifically, observers
report that an object on a collision course with their head will miss it. From an evolutionary perspective
this appears to make little sense. However, here we consider whether this perceptual
phenomenon might actually reflect “optimal” behaviour by the visual system. Our experiment
consisted of two stages. First, we recorded thresholds for detecting an increment in a distance
moved in depth (d) or a distance moved laterally (l). Second, we recorded observers’ reports
of the perceived trajectory of a point moving towards them in depth. Trajectories were chosen
to span a range of angles with respect to the mid-sagital plane and all trajectories consisted
of lateral- and depth- components of motion. We then constructed a Maximum Likelihood
model (cf. [3]) for weighting the lateral- and depth- components of the presented motion trajectory.
Specifically, we broke down the presented trajectories into a component in depth and
a lateral motion component. Then, using the d and l thresholds we weighted the two motion
components in accordance with the observers’ sensitivity to each. Finally, using these
weighted motion components we calculated a trajectory angle based on a simple trigonometric
ratio. This simple model captured characteristic aspects of the observers’ behaviour, and in
some cases a very good fit to the data. We suggest that at least part of the explanation for the
apparent paradox in perceiving motion towards the head results from the discrepancy between
sensitivity to lateral motion and motion-in-depth.

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 Dates: 2005-02
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: BibTex Citekey: Welchman2005
 Degree: -

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Title: 8th Tübinger Wahrnehmungskonferenz (TWK 2005)
Place of Event: Tübingen, Germany
Start-/End Date: 2005-02-25 - 2005-02-27

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Title: 8th Tübingen Perception Conference: TWK 2005
Source Genre: Proceedings
 Creator(s):
Bülthoff, HH1, Editor           
Mallot, HA, Editor           
Ulrich, R, Editor
Wichmann, FA1, Editor           
Affiliations:
1 Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society, ou_1497794            
Publ. Info: Kirchentellinsfurt, Germany : Knirsch
Pages: - Volume / Issue: - Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 190 Identifier: ISBN: 3-927091-70-7