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Vision Res. 1996 May;36(9):1281-90.

Perceived velocity of luminance, chromatic and non-fourier stimuli: influence of contrast and temporal frequency.

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Center for Neural Science, New York University, NY 10003, USA.


We measured perceived velocity as a function of contrast for luminance and isoluminant sinusoidal gratings, luminance and isoluminant plaids, and second-order, amplitude-modulated, drift-balanced stimuli. For all types of stimuli perceived velocity was contrast-invariant for fast moving patterns at or above 4 deg/sec. For slowly moving stimuli the log of perceived velocity was a linear function of the log of the contrast. The slope of this perceived velocity-vs-contrast line (velocity gain) was relatively shallow for luminance gratings and luminance plaids, but was steep for isoluminant gratings and isoluminant plaids, as well as for drift-balanced stimuli. Independent variation of spatial and temporal frequency showed that these variables, and not velocity alone, determine the velocity gain. Overall, the results indicate that slow moving stimuli defined by chromaticity or by second-order statistics are processed in a different manner from luminance defined stimuli. We propose that there are a number of independent mechanisms processing motion targets and it is the interplay of these mechanisms that is responsible for the final percept.

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