Spatial characteristics of movement detection mechanisms in human vision. I. Achromatic vision

Biol Cybern. 1980;37(2):77-92. doi: 10.1007/BF00364247.


Threshold illumination levels, It, for visual detection of white light targets, moving across spatially structured background fields, have been measured and it is shown that, for a given background illumination level, It depends upon the spatial characteristics of the background field structure. Thus, with the background composed of a square-waveform grating of fundamental spatial frequency f cycles/deg, It is maximum for an intermediate value of f, and falls as f increases or decreases from this value. The relationship between It and f characterizes the interaction between movement detection and the background grating, and is designated the IMG function. The parametric properties of the IMG functions are described and it is established that the mechanisms which give rise to these functions are sensitive to the movement, but not the spatial structure of the target. They correspond, therefore, to the movement-sensitive Y-type mechanisms, observed in electrophysiological studies of cat and primate visual pathways. The spatial distribution of sensitivity associated with the IMG functions has been computed by 2-D transform methods, the computation yielding circularly symmetric, centre-surround antagonistic "receptive field" distributions.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Differential Threshold
  • Dominance, Cerebral
  • Female
  • Fovea Centralis / physiology
  • Humans
  • Lighting
  • Male
  • Motion Perception*
  • Retina / physiology
  • Space Perception*
  • Vision, Ocular*
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Perception*