Coherent motion perception fails at low contrast

Vision Res. 2005 Aug;45(17):2310-20. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2005.02.020. Epub 2005 Apr 12.


If the Fourier components of a moving plaid have similar temporal frequency, spatial frequency and contrast, coherent motion is perceived according to subjective judgements. We have devised a more objective method of determining the conditions required for coherent motion. Moving plaid stimuli were created with one stationary component. Plaids with a stationary component always have a single perceived direction of motion, which is determined by the presence or absence of coherent motion. In a temporal two-interval forced-choice paradigm we used a direction discrimination task to investigate the effect of varying the temporal and spatial characteristics of the Fourier components and pattern contrast on the probability of coherent motion perception. Agreement across observers regarding the conditions required for coherent motion was excellent using this more objective method. We find that patterns do not produce coherent motion when presented at contrast threshold, irrespective of how similar the Fourier components are. We also confirm that when the temporal frequency, spatial frequency and contrast of the gratings are sufficiently similar, observers report the direction of motion indicating coherent motion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Sensitivity*
  • Discrimination, Psychological
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Models, Psychological
  • Motion Perception*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Psychometrics
  • Sensory Thresholds
  • Space Perception
  • Time Factors