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Cognition. 2007 Oct;105(1):237-45. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

The pop out of scene-relative object movement against retinal motion due to self-movement.

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School of Psychology, Cardiff University, Tower Building, Park Place, P.O. Box 901, Cardiff CF10 3YG, Wales, UK.


An object that moves is spotted almost effortlessly; it "pops out". When the observer is stationary, a moving object is uniquely identified by retinal motion. This is not so when the observer is also moving; as the eye travels through space all scene objects change position relative to the eye producing a complicated field of retinal motion. Without the unique identifier of retinal motion an object moving relative to the scene should be difficult to locate. Using a search task, we investigated this proposition. Computer-rendered objects were moved and transformed in a manner consistent with movement of the observer. Despite the complex pattern of retinal motion, objects moving relative to the scene were found to pop out. We suggest the brain uses its sensitivity to optic flow to "stabilise" the scene, allowing the scene-relative movement of an object to be identified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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