Speed judgments of three-dimensional motion incorporate extraretinal information.

Arthur Lugtigheid, E Brenner, Andrew Welchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


When tracking an object moving in depth, the visual system should take changes of eye vergence into account to judge the object's 3D speed correctly. Previous work has shown that extraretinal information about changes in eye vergence is exploited when judging the sign of 3D motion. Here, we ask whether extraretinal signals also affect judgments of 3D speed. Observers judged the speed of a small target surrounded by a large background. To manipulate extraretinal information, we varied the vergence demand of the entire stimulus sinusoidally over time. At different phases of vergence pursuit, we changed the disparity of the target relative to the background, leading observers to perceive approaching target motion. We determined psychometric functions for the target's approach speed when the eyes were (1) converging, (2) diverging, (3) maximally converged (near), and (4) maximally diverged (far). The target's motion was reported as faster during convergence and slower during divergence but perceived speed was little affected at near or far vergence positions. Thus, 3D speed judgments are affected by extraretinal signals about changes in eye rotation but appear unaffected by the absolute orientation of the eyes. We develop a model that accounts for observers' judgments by taking a weighted average of the retinal and extraretinal signals to target motion.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


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