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A preference for visual speed during smooth pursuit eye movement

Freeman, Tom C. A. ORCID:, Cucu, Maria O. and Smith, Laura 2018. A preference for visual speed during smooth pursuit eye movement. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 44 (10) , pp. 1629-1636. 10.1037/xhp0000551

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Does the preference for visual speed extend to motion perception when the eye moves? Current evidence from psychophysics and neuroscience is limited to small patches of image motion and stationary fixation. Active observers, however, are more likely to use large patches of retinal flow and extra-retinal signals accompanying eye movement to judge motion. We therefore investigated whether speed remains a primary dimension during smooth pursuit using a ‘discrimination-contour’ technique. Our results showed that observers struggled most when trying to discriminate pursued stimuli that travelled at the same speed but moved over different distances and durations. This remained the case when retinal flow was added, and when we isolated trials in which extra-retinal signals were the only salient cue to motion. Our results suggest that preferential sensitivity for visual speed is quite general, supported by the many different types of motion mechanism used by active observers.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Uncontrolled Keywords: speed perception; motion perception; extra-retinal signals; retinal flow; smooth pursuit eye movement
Additional Information: Public Significance statement: Speed is considered a primary dimension in vision science, sensed independently from distance and time. However, the evidence is limited to experiments that use small patches of image motion and restrict eye movements. This ignores the cues more likely to be used during normal active viewing, such as large patches of retinal flow and extra-retinal motor signals from the eye-movement system. With these cues in place, we found visual speed is still sensed independently from distance and time. The mechanisms serving motion perception in active observers are therefore built on speed.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0096-1523
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 March 2018
Date of Acceptance: 27 March 2018
Last Modified: 18 Nov 2023 17:36

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