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Spat Vis. 1985;1(1):57-67.

Spatial phase and frequency in motion capture of random-dot patterns.

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Department of Psychology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


A square matrix of spots (A) was presented in rapid alternation with an uncorrelated matrix (B). If the square arrays are superimposed spatially one sees random incoherent motion. However, incoherent motion was seen only if the outer edges were exactly aligned. If the outline of matrix A is shifted horizontally by 1 degree in relation to B, then the edges are seen to oscillate to and fro. Surprisingly, all the dots in the matrix were seen to 'adhere' to the edges and to move horizontally (Ramachandran, 1981). We then aligned the edges again to produce incoherent motion and superimposed a sine-wave grating on the pattern. If the grating was moved horizontally then all the spots 'adhered' to it and moved horizontally as well. This illusion ('motion capture') was optimal (a) at a 90 degrees spatial phase shift of the grating; (b) at low spatial frequencies (less than 0.5 cycles); and (c) when the grating was alternated in step with the dot patterns. Density modulated gratings were just as effective. We conclude that the unambiguous motion signal derived from the grating is applied spontaneously to the dots as well.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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