Perceived speed of moving lines depends on orientation, length, speed and luminance

Vision Res. 1993 Sep;33(14):1921-36. doi: 10.1016/0042-6989(93)90019-s.


In this study, the perceived speed of a tilted line translating horizontally (for a duration of 167 msec) is evaluated with respect to a vertical line undergoing the same translation. Perceived speed of the oblique line is shown to be underestimated when compared to the vertical line. This bias increases: (1) when the line is further tilted, (2) with greater line lengths, (3) with lower contrasts, and finally (4) with a speed of 2.1 deg/sec as compared to a higher speed of 4.2 deg/sec. These results may be accounted for by considering that two velocity signals are used by the visual system to estimate the speed of the line: the translation of this line (this signal does not depend on the line's orientation) and the motion component normal to the line (this signal depends on orientation). We suggest that these two signals are encoded by different types of units and that the translation signal is specifically extracted at the line endings. We further suggest that these signals are integrated by a weighted average process according to their perceptual salience. Other interpretations are considered at the light of current models dealing with the two-dimensional integration of different velocity signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Differential Threshold / physiology
  • Humans
  • Light
  • Mathematics
  • Models, Neurological
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Rotation
  • Time Factors