Direction-of-motion discrimination is facilitated by visible motion smear

Percept Psychophys. 2007 Jan;69(1):48-55. doi: 10.3758/bf03194452.


Recent evidence indicates that motion smear can provide useful information for the detection and discrimination of motion. Further, it has been shown that the perception of motion smear depends critically on the density of dots in a random-dot (RD) stimulus. Therefore, in the present experiments, the contribution of perceived motion smear to direction-of-motion discrimination was evaluated using RD targets of different densities. Thresholds for direction-of-motion discrimination and the extent of perceived motion smear were determined for RD stimuli with densities of 1, 2, and 10 dots/deg(2), presented for 200 msec at a velocity of 4, 8, or 12 deg/sec. To evaluate the contribution of information about orientation from motion smear, thresholds for orientation discrimination were measured using parallel lines with the same length as the extent of perceived smear. Despite the opportunity for increased summation as RD density increases, our results indicate that direction-of-motion discrimination worsens. Because perception of motion smear is reduced with an increase in RD density, our results are consistent with a facilitation of direction-of-motion discrimination by visible motion smear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cues*
  • Differential Threshold
  • Discrimination Learning*
  • Humans
  • Motion Perception*
  • Orientation*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychophysics
  • Reaction Time
  • Vision, Monocular