The Effect of Complex Motion Pattern on Speed Perception

Bard J. Geesaman and Ning Qian, Vision Research, 1998, 38:1223-1231.
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We recently reported a new motion illusion where dots in expanding random dot patterns appear to move faster than those in rotation patterns despite having the same physical speed distributions (Geesaman & Qian, 1996). In the current paper, we compared expansion and rotation motion to translational motion and found that the perceived dot speed in translation patterns was between that of expansion and rotation. We also explored contraction motion and found subjects perceived dots in contracting patterns as moving slightly faster than those in expanding patterns and much faster than those in rotating patterns. Finally, we found that stimulus presentation order in a trial plays an important role in determining the magnitude of the speed illusion - the effect is greater when the subjectively faster stimulus is viewed second (e.g. expansion after rotation). The dependence on stimulus order is greatest when comparing complex motion patterns with large subjective speed differences. This phenomenon is unlikely to be explained in terms of channel fatigue or adaptation.

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