Predictability, efference copies, and non-retinotopic motion

Perception is usually non-retinotopic. For example, a reflector on the wheel of a bicycle is perceived to rotate on a circular orbit, while its retinotopic motion is cycloidal. To investigate non-retinotopic motion perception, we used the Ternus-Pikler display. Two disks are repeatedly flashed on a computer screen. A dot moves linearly up-down in the left disk and left-right in the right disk (retinotopic percept). If a third disk is added alternatingly to the left and right, the three disks form a group moving predictably back and forth horizontally. The dot in the central disk now appears to move on a circular orbit (non-retinotopic percept), because the brain subtracts the horizontal group motion from the up-down and left-right motion. Here, we show that predictability is not necessary to compute non-retinotopic motion. In experiment 1, the three disks moved randomly in any direction. In experiment 2, we additionally varied the shape and contrast polarity of the stimuli from frame to frame. In both cases, strong non-retinotopic rotation was perceived. Hence, the visual system can flexibly solve the non-retinotopic motion correspondence problem, even when the retinotopic reference motion is unpredictable and no efference copy-like signals can be used.

    Keywords: psychophysics ; non-retinotopic processing ; efference copies


    This work was supported by grant 153001, “Basics of visual processing: From retinotopic encoding to non-retinotopic representations”, of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).


    • EPFL-POSTER-211890

    Record created on 2015-09-23, modified on 2016-08-09


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