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Nat Neurosci. 2002 Oct;5(10):1010-5.

What constitutes an efficient reference frame for vision?

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  • 1Vanderbilt Vision Research Center, 301 Wilson Hall, Vanderbilt University, 111 21st Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee 37203, USA.


Vision requires a reference frame. To what extent does this reference frame depend on the structure of the visual input, rather than just on retinal landmarks? This question is particularly relevant to the perception of dynamic scenes, when keeping track of external motion relative to the retina is difficult. We tested human subjects' ability to discriminate the motion and temporal coherence of changing elements that were embedded in global patterns and whose perceptual organization was manipulated in a way that caused only minor changes to the retinal image. Coherence discriminations were always better when local elements were perceived to be organized as a global moving form than when they were perceived to be unorganized, individually moving entities. Our results indicate that perceived form influences the neural representation of its component features, and from this, we propose a new method for studying perceptual organization.

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