Object speed derived from the integration of motion in the image plane and motion-in-depth signaled by stereomotion and looming

Sieu K. Khuu*, Terence C P LEE, Anthony Hayes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the influence of local motion in the retinal image plane on the perception of speed-in-depth. Observers judged the apparent speed-in-depth of a square plane of dynamic dots that moved towards the observer. Dots forming the surface of the plane underwent random-direction motion in the image plane. We examined the consequences of changing the dots' image-plane speed on the apparent speed of the stimulus as it traversed depth, where depth is signaled by stereomotion or looming. Results for both the stereomotion and looming conditions indicate that as the speed of random-direction motion in the image plane increases, the apparent speed-in-depth of the stimulus also increases. When stereomotion was used to signal motion-in-depth, the speed judgment is adequately modeled by the resultant of a vector sum of dot-speed in the image plane and speed-in-depth. However, when looming was used to define motion-in-depth, a different pattern of results was found - the apparent speed-in-depth is lower than the actual speed-in-depth, and the results are best predicted by simple averaging. Our results demonstrate that the integration of speed in the image plane and speed-in-depth, to determine object speed, is dependent on the type of cue used to signal motion-in-depth, and this difference is a consequence of the ways in which looming and stereomotion cue motion-in-depth. Looming is derived not at a local stage of motion analysis, but is available only via global integration of local velocities, and consequently global speed conforms to the average speed. Stereomotion, on the other hand, provides an effective cue for individuating local velocities in depth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)904-913
Number of pages10
JournalVision Research
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems

User-Defined Keywords

  • Looming
  • Motion-in-depth
  • Speed processing
  • Stereomotion


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