Spatial properties of non-retinotopic reference frames in human vision
Many visual attributes of a target stimulus are computed according to dynamic, non-retinotopic reference frames. For example, the motion trajectory of a reflector on a bicycle wheel is perceived as orbital, even though it is in fact cycloidal in retinal, as well as spatial coordinates. We cannot perceive the cycloidal motion because the linear motion of the bike is discounted for. In other words, the linear motion common to all bicycle components serves as a non-retinotopic reference frame, with respect to which the residual (orbital) motion of the reflector is computed. Very little is known about the underlying mechanisms involved in formation and operation of non-retinotopic reference frames. Here, we investigate spatial properties of non-retinotopic reference frames. We show that reference frames are not restricted within the boundaries of moving stimuli but extend over space. By using a variation of the Ternus-Pikler paradigm, we show that the spatial extent of a non-retinotopic reference frame is independent of the size of the inducing elements and the target position near the object boundary. While dynamic reference-frames interact with each other significantly, a static reference-frame has no effect on a dynamic one. The magnitude of interactions between two neighboring dynamic reference-frames increases as the distance between them reduces. Finally, our results indicate that the reference-frame strength is significantly attenuated if the locus of attention is shifted to the elements of the neighboring reference instead of the main reference. We suggest that these results can be conceptualized as reference frames that act and interact as fields. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.