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Vision Res. 1989;29(5):553-61.

Is there a constancy for velocity?

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Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute, San Francisco, CA 94115.


Human observers are unable to use disparity information to transform the angular velocity signal into a precise object-based code. The Weber fraction for discriminating changes in objective velocity (cm/sec) is about twice the Weber fraction for discriminating changes in angular velocity (deg/sec), and is substantially higher than predicted from a combination of the errors in judging disparity and angular velocity. By comparison, judgments of the distance traversed by the moving target show excellent size constancy. The discrimination of changes in objective size (cm) is as precise as the discrimination of changes in angular size (deg). The angular velocity signal is useful without transformation into an object-centered signal; it guides eye and body movements, and is the basis of motion parallax judgments. The need to retain this angular signal may explain why there is no efficient mechanism for velocity constancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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