Human observers are biased in judging the angular approach of a projectile

Vision Res. 2004;44(17):2027-42. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2004.03.014.


How do we decide whether an object approaching us will hit us? The optic array provides information sufficient for us to determine the approaching trajectory of a projectile. However, when using binocular information, observers report that trajectories near the mid-sagittal plane are wider than they actually are. Here we extend this work to consider stimuli containing additional depth cues. We measure observers' estimates of trajectory direction first for computer rendered, stereoscopically presented, rich-cue objects, and then for real objects moving in the world. We find that, under both rich cue conditions and with real moving objects, observers show positive bias, overestimating the angle of approach when movement is near the mid-sagittal plane. The findings question whether the visual system, using both binocular and monocular cues to depth, can make explicit estimates of the 3-D location and movement of objects in depth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cues
  • Depth Perception / physiology
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Biological
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Vision Disparity / physiology
  • Vision, Binocular / physiology
  • Vision, Monocular / physiology