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Temporal processing of self-motion: Translations are processed slower than rotations

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Soyka,  F
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Barnett Cowan,  M
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Robuffo Giordano,  P
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Soyka, F., Barnett Cowan, M., Robuffo Giordano, P., & Bülthoff, H. (2012). Temporal processing of self-motion: Translations are processed slower than rotations. Seeing and Perceiving, 25(0), 207-208.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-B6EC-8
Abstract
Reaction times (RTs) to purely inertial self-motion stimuli have only infrequently been studied, and comparisons of RTs for translations and rotations, to our knowledge, are nonexistent. We recently proposed a model [1] which describes direction discrimination thresholds for rotational and translational motions based on the dynamics of the vestibular sensory organs (otoliths and semi-circular canals). This model also predicts differences in RTs for different motion profiles (e.g., trapezoidal versus triangular acceleration profiles or varying profile durations). In order to assess these predictions we measured RTs in 20 participants for 8 supra-threshold motion profiles (4 translations, 4 rotations). A two-alternative forced-choice task, discriminating leftward from rightward motions, was used and 30 correct responses per condition were evaluated. The results agree with predictions for RT differences between motion profiles as derived from previously identified model parameters from threshold measurements. To describe absolute RT, a constant is added to the predictions representing both the discrimination process, and the time needed to press the response button. This constant is approximately 160ms shorter for rotations, thus indicating that additional processing time is required for translational motion. As this additional latency cannot be explained by our model based on the dynamics of the sensory organs, we speculate that it originates at a later stage, e.g. during tilt-translation disambiguation. Varying processing latencies for different self-motion stimuli (either translations or rotations) which our model can account for must be considered when assessing the perceived timing of vestibular stimulation in comparison with other senses [2,3].