A simple saliency model predicts a number of motion popout phenomena

Vision Res. 1999 Sep;39(19):3157-63. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(99)00077-2.


Visual search for a moving target among stationary distractors is more efficient than searching for a stationary target among moving distractors, and searching for a fast target among slow distractors is more efficient than vice versa. This indicates that the ease of search for a target with a particular motion is not determined simply by the difference between target and distractor velocities. We suggest a simple model for predicting ease of search for a unique motion, based upon a quantitative measure of target saliency. Essentially, search will be easier the more the target motion deviates from the general pattern of velocities in the scene. Our model predicts a number of well-known motion search phenomena, and suggests that one control for target saliency as well as target discriminability when drawing conclusions about visual system mechanisms from search experiments.

MeSH terms

  • Color Perception / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Psychological*
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Signal Detection, Psychological / physiology*
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*