On the Elementary Mechanism Underlying Secondary Motion Processing
The movement of luminance-defined targets can be easily extracted by elementary motion detectors (EMDs) of the correlation type which often are referred to as Reichardt-detectors. In contrast to such `primary motion', in `secondary motion' the moving target is defined by more complex features, like changes in texture, flicker, or local contrast. Such stimulus attributes have to be extracted from the retinal intensity distribution by some nonlinear preprocessing, before they are fed into motion detectors. An intriguing case is the perception of the movement of the motion signal, as is present in theta motion, where an object moves in a different direction than the texture on its surface. A two-layer model of hierarchically organised EMDs has been postulated to account for such motion extraction. Other than for the first layer, the computational nature of the mechanism underlying motion processing in the second layer so far is a matter of speculation, and is therefore characterized here by means of computer simulations and psychophysical experiments. Random dot kinematograms were generated in which sinusoidally modulated vertical dot motion defined gratings, and coherence thresholds were measured for the direction discrimination of a horizontally travelling modulation function. This was done for a variety of spatial frequencies and speeds of the modulation sinusoid. Thresholds turn out to be lowest not for a particular speed, but for a fixed temporal frequency of the modulation function (about 1 cycle per second), when various combinations of fine and coarse, and fast and slow secondary gratings are tested. This result favours a correlation-type mechanism over a gradient-type scheme which should lead to a speed-optimum independent of spatial frequency.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B
- Pub Date:
- December 1996