Two independent mechanisms for motion-in-depth perception: evidence from individual differences

Nefs, Harold T. and O'Hare, Louise and Harris, Julie M. (2010) Two independent mechanisms for motion-in-depth perception: evidence from individual differences. Frontiers in Psychology, 1 (155). pp. 1-8. ISSN 1664-1078

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2010.00155

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Two independent mechanisms for motion-in-depth perception: evidence from individual differences
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Abstract

Our forward-facing eyes allow us the advantage of binocular visual information: using the tiny differences between right and left eye views to learn about depth and location in three dimensions. Our visual systems also contain specialized mechanisms to detect motion-in-depth from binocular vision, but the nature of these mechanisms remains controversial. Binocular motion-in-depth perception could theoretically be based on first detecting binocular disparity and then monitoring how it changes over time. The alternative is to monitor the motion in the right and left eye separately and then compare these motion signals. Here we used an individual differences approach to test whether the two sources of information are processed via dissociated mechanisms, and to measure the relative importance of those mechanisms. Our results suggest the existence of two distinct mechanisms, each contributing to the perception of motion-in-depth in most observers. Additionally, for the first time, we demonstrate the relative prevalence of the two mechanisms within a normal population. In general, visual systems appear to rely mostly on the mechanism sensitive to changing binocular disparity, but perception of motion-in-depth is augmented by the presence of a less sensitive mechanism that uses interocular velocity differences. Occasionally, we find observers with the opposite pattern of sensitivity. More generally this work showcases the power of the individual differences approach in studying the functional organization of cognitive systems.

Additional Information:Our forward-facing eyes allow us the advantage of binocular visual information: using the tiny differences between right and left eye views to learn about depth and location in three dimensions. Our visual systems also contain specialized mechanisms to detect motion-in-depth from binocular vision, but the nature of these mechanisms remains controversial. Binocular motion-in-depth perception could theoretically be based on first detecting binocular disparity and then monitoring how it changes over time. The alternative is to monitor the motion in the right and left eye separately and then compare these motion signals. Here we used an individual differences approach to test whether the two sources of information are processed via dissociated mechanisms, and to measure the relative importance of those mechanisms. Our results suggest the existence of two distinct mechanisms, each contributing to the perception of motion-in-depth in most observers. Additionally, for the first time, we demonstrate the relative prevalence of the two mechanisms within a normal population. In general, visual systems appear to rely mostly on the mechanism sensitive to changing binocular disparity, but perception of motion-in-depth is augmented by the presence of a less sensitive mechanism that uses interocular velocity differences. Occasionally, we find observers with the opposite pattern of sensitivity. More generally this work showcases the power of the individual differences approach in studying the functional organization of cognitive systems.
Keywords:motion-in-depth, stereopsis, individual differences, interocular velocity differences, depth motion
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C800 Psychology
Divisions:College of Social Science > School of Psychology
ID Code:7498
Deposited On:11 Feb 2013 11:15

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