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Acta Psychol (Amst). 2009 Sep;132(1):1-21. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2009.06.006. Epub 2009 Jul 30.

A counterchange mechanism for the perception of motion.

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Department of Psychology, Florida Atlantic University, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.


A computational model for the perception of counterchange-specified motion is examined in detail and compared with various versions of the Reichardt motion detection model [Reichardt, W. (1961). Autocorrelation, a principle for the evaluation of sensory information by the central nervous system. In W. A. Rosenblith (Ed.), Sensory communication (pp. 303-317). New York: Wiley]. The counterchange model is composed of a pair of temporally biphasic subunits at two retinal locations, one detecting decreases and the other increases in input activation. Motion is signaled when both subunits are simultaneously excited, as determined by the multiplicative combination of their transient responses. In contrast with the Reichardt detector, which effectively tracks motion energy and accounts solely for results obtained with standard apparent motion stimuli (a surface is visible at one location, then at another), the counterchange model also accounts for the generalized apparent motion perceived between pairs of simultaneously visible surfaces. This indicates that standard apparent motion can be perceived via the same non-sequential, non-motion-energy mechanism as generalized apparent motion. There is no need for either an explicit delay mechanism to account for optimal motion perception at non-zero inter-stimulus intervals, or for inhibitory interaction between subunits to account for the absence of motion in the detector's null direction (Barlow, H. B., & Levick, W. R., 1965). Both are emergent properties that result from the inhibitory states of the counterchange detector's biphasic subunits. In addition to apparent motion, the counterchange principle potentially accounts for the perception of motion for drifting gratings, the short range motion perceived for random-dot cinematograms, and the motion perceived for continuously moving objects.

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