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Logo of iperceptioni-Perception
Iperception. 2011 May; 2(4): 270.
Published online 2011 May 1. doi:  10.1068/ic270
PMCID: PMC5393842

Optic Flow Information Influencing Heading Perception during Rotation


We investigated what roles global spatial frequency, surface structure, and foreground motion play in heading perception during simulated rotation from optic flow. The display (110°Hx94°V) simulated walking on a straight path over a ground plane (depth range: 1.4–50 m) at 2 m/s while fixating a target off to one side (mean R/T ratios: ±1, ±2, ±3) under six display conditions. Four displays consisted of nonexpanding dots that were distributed so as to manipulate the amount of foreground motion and the presence of surface structure. In one further display the ground was covered with disks that expanded during the trial and lastly a textured ground display was created with the same spatial frequency power spectrum as the disk ground. At the end of each 1s trial, observers indicated their perceived heading along a line at the display's center. Mean heading biases were smaller for the textured than for the disk ground, for the displays with more foreground motion and for the displays with surface structure defined by dot motion than without. We conclude that while spatial frequency content is not a crucial factor, dense motion parallax and surface structure in optic flow are important for accurate heading perception during rotation.

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