Opponent processes in human motion perception : shear and compression sensitivity, induced motion and motion capture
Sensitivity to differential motion components, shearing and compressive (opposed) motion, was examined. The hypothesis that the visual system contains local mechanisms specifically sensitive to these types of motion was tested. Stimuli consisted of two moving sinusoidal gratings. Sensitivity to shear and compression was compared with sensitivity for linear motion. Lower thresholds of motion and contrast sensitivities were obtained. Subjects were more sensitive to opposed than to non-opposed motion for a range of grating orientations and different grating spatial frequencies. However sensitivity for opposed motion decreased in the presence of a second added linear motion. The hypothesis of local shear and compression mechanisms was rejected in favour of antagonistic (opponent) interactions between local motion mechanisms. Motion capture was examined. Stimuli were made up of a circular test grating surrounded by another grating. Subjects were required to judge the direction of motion of the test grating. Experiments examined the effects on motion capture of: centre grating size; orientation of surround; relative contrast of centre and surround; plaids in the surround. Conditions favouring motion capture were: with the smallest centre grating; with surround and centre orientations within thirty degrees; with surround had higher contrast than the centre; and only when a plaid surround contained a component of similar orientation as the centre. For conditions of motion capture relative to those of no-capture, increased velocity thresholds for judging the centre direction were found. This was associated with a shift in the bias point between opposed directions with no change in overall sensitivity to motion. It is suggested that a cooperative network of local motion mechanisms featuring centre-surround opponency can account for all the results of this study.