Motion Perception: From Detection to Interpretation

Annu Rev Vis Sci. 2018 Sep 15;4:501-523. doi: 10.1146/annurev-vision-091517-034328. Epub 2018 Jul 27.


Visual motion processing can be conceptually divided into two levels. In the lower level, local motion signals are detected by spatiotemporal-frequency-selective sensors and then integrated into a motion vector flow. Although the model based on V1-MT physiology provides a good computational framework for this level of processing, it needs to be updated to fully explain psychophysical findings about motion perception, including complex motion signal interactions in the spatiotemporal-frequency and space domains. In the higher level, the velocity map is interpreted. Although there are many motion interpretation processes, we highlight the recent progress in research on the perception of material (e.g., specular reflection, liquid viscosity) and on animacy perception. We then consider possible linking mechanisms of the two levels and propose intrinsic flow decomposition as the key problem. To provide insights into computational mechanisms of motion perception, in addition to psychophysics and neurosciences, we review machine vision studies seeking to solve similar problems.

Keywords: animacy; first-order motion; intrinsic flow decomposition; material; spatiotemporal frequency; vector field.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Feedback, Sensory / physiology
  • Humans
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Psychophysics
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology
  • Time Perception / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*