Measurement of angular velocity in the perception of rotation Journal Article

Authors: Barraza, José F.; Grzywacz, Norberto M.
Article Title: Measurement of angular velocity in the perception of rotation
Abstract: Humans are sensitive to the parameters of translational motion, namely, direction and speed. At the same time, people have special mechanisms to deal with more complex motions, such as rotations and expansions. One wonders whether people may also be sensitive to the parameters of these complex motions. Here, we report on a series of experiments that explore whether human subjects can use angular velocity to evaluate how fast a rotational motion is. In four experiments, subjects were required to perform a task of speed-of-rotation discrimination by comparing two annuli of different radii in a temporal 2AFC paradigm. Results showed that humans could rely on a sensitive measurement of angular velocity to perform this discrimination task. This was especially true when the quality of the rotational signal was high (given by the number of dots composing the annulus). When the signal quality decreased, a bias towards linear velocity of 5-80% appeared, suggesting the existence of separate mechanisms for angular and linear velocity. This bias was independent from the reference radius. Finally, we asked whether the measurement of angular velocity required a rigid rotation, that is, whether the visual system makes only one global estimate of angular velocity. For this purpose, a random-dot disk was built such that all the dots were rotating with the same tangential speed, irrespectively of radius. Results showed that subjects do not estimate a unique global angular velocity, but that they perceive a non-rigid disk, with angular velocity falling inversely proportionally with radius.
Journal Title: Vision research
Volume: 42
Issue: 21
ISSN: 0042-6989
Publisher: Unknown  
Journal Place: England
Date Published: 2002
Start Page: 2457
End Page: 2462
Language: eng
Notes: J2: Vision Res
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