Temporal resolution of dichoptic and second-order motion mechanisms

Vision Res. 1998 Nov;38(22):3531-9. doi: 10.1016/s0042-6989(98)00050-9.


We addressed the question of whether low-level motion analysers can integrate signals binocularly. We compared the temporal sensitivity in motion discrimination tasks using monocular and dichoptic first-order motion and monocular and dichoptic second-order motion. Three human observers were required to discriminate the direction of motion of either sinusoidal gratings (1 c/deg), used as a stimulus for first-order motion analysers, or the envelopes of contrast-modulated stationary sinusoidal gratings (carrier frequency 5 c/deg, carrier contrast 0.1, modulation frequency 1 c/deg), used as a stimulus for second-order motion analysers. Contrast sensitivity was measured as a function of temporal frequency. The moving grating or envelope was generated by summing two non-moving sinusoidally flickering gratings or envelopes in spatiotemporal quadrature. These were either combined monocularly or presented dichoptically. Sensitivity to the moving envelope was highest at a temporal frequency between 0.5 and 2 Hz, depending on the observer, and declined rapidly at high temporal frequencies. None of the observers was able to discriminate the direction of motion of envelopes moving faster than 4 Hz. Dichoptic and monocular presentation produced very similar results. Sensitivity to a monocularly presented moving grating was fairly uniform between 1 and 8 Hz, and declined slightly at 16 Hz. In one of three observers sensitivity to the dichoptically presented grating was very close to that of the monocularly presented grating at all temporal frequencies tested (from 1 to 16 Hz). All observers could discriminate the direction of motion of the dichoptically presented grating at 8 Hz, but two of the three were unable to discriminate its direction of motion at 16 Hz. These results indicate that second-order motion analysers have very poor temporal resolution and that dichoptic motion analysers have very good resolution. We suggest that this implies that there are low-level motion analysers that are capable of integrating information binocularly.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Sensitivity / physiology
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Vision, Binocular / physiology*