Dependence of Motion Repulsion and Rivalry on the Distance between Moving Elements

Nestor Matthews, Bard J. Geesaman, and Ning Qian, Vision Research, 2000, 40:2025-2036.
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We investigated the extent to which motion repulsion and binocular motion rivalry depend on the distance between moving elements. The stimuli consisted of two sets of spatially intermingled, finite-life random dots that moved across each other. The distance between the dots moving in different directions was manipulated by spatially pairing the dot trajectories with various precisions. Data from Experiment 1 indicated that motion repulsion occurred reliably only when the average distance between orthogonally moving elements was at least 21.0 arc min. When the dots were precisely paired, a single global direction intermediate to the two actual directions was perceived. This result suggests that, at a relatively small spatial scale, interaction between different directions favors motion attraction or coherence, while interaction at a somewhat larger scale generates motion repulsion. Similarly, data from Experiment 2 indicated that binocular motion rivalry was significantly diminished by spatially pairing the dots, which moved in opposite directions in the two eyes. This supports the recent proposal that rivalry occurs at or after the stage of binocular convergence, since monocular cells could not have directly responded to our interocular pairing manipulation. Together, these findings suggest that the neural mechanisms underlying motion perception are highly sensitive to the fine spatial relationship between moving elements.

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