Aug 1, 1994

Humans combine the optic flow with static depth cues for robust perception of heading

Vision Research
A V van den Berg, E Brenner


The retinal flow during normal locomotion contains components due to rotation and translation of the observer. The translatory part of the flow-pattern is informative of heading, because it radiates outward from the direction of heading. However, it is not directly accessible from the retinal flow. Nevertheless, humans can perceive their direction of heading from the compound retinal flow without need for extra-retinal signals that indicate the rotation. Two classes of models have been proposed to explain the visual decomposition of the retinal flow into its constituent parts. One type relies on local operations to remove the rotational part of the flow field. The other type explicitly determines the direction and magnitude of the rotation from the global retinal flow, for subsequent removal. According to the former model, nearby points are most reliable for estimating one's heading. In the latter type of model the quality of the heading estimate depends on the accuracy with which the ego-rotation is determined and is therefore most reliable when based on the most distant points. We report that subjects underestimate the eccentricity of heading, relative to the fixated point in the ground plane, when the visible range of the gr...Continue Reading

Mentioned in this Paper

Depth Perception
Fixation, Ocular
Sample Fixation
Eye Movements
Optic Flow
Motion Perception

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