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Perceived movement direction biased by target pattern orientation

Perceived movement direction biased by target pattern orientation

The following title is included in this week's posted papers focussing on navigation and orientation.

Summaries of all papers have been circulated to members of the Animal Navigation Forum and full papers are available in the ANG Resources directory at the link below (available to non-members).

Hughes, A. E., Jones, C., Joshi, K. & Tolhurst, D. J. 2017 Diverted by dazzle: perceived movement direction is biased by target pattern orientation. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 284. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0015. Hughes11 2017

‘Motion dazzle’ is the hypothesis that predators may misjudge the speed or direction of moving prey which have high-contrast patterning, such as stripes. However, there is currently little experimental evidence that such patterns cause visual illusions. Here, observers binocularly tracked a Gabor target, moving with a linear trajectory randomly chosen within 18° of the horizontal. This target then became occluded, and observers were asked to judge where they thought it would later cross a vertical line to the side. We found that internal motion of the stripes within the Gabor biased judgements as expected: Gabors with upwards internal stripe motion relative to the overall direction of motion were perceived to be crossing above Gabors with downwards internal stripe movement. However, surprisingly, we found a much stronger effect of the rigid pattern orientation. Patches with oblique stripes pointing upwards relative to the direction of motion were perceived to cross above patches with downward-pointing stripes. This effect occurred only at high speeds, suggesting that it may reflect an orientation-dependent effect in which spatial signals are used in direction judgements. These findings have implications for our understanding of motion dazzle mechanisms and how human motion and form processing interact.

  • 15 March 2017
  • Animal Navigation Group

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