Nonlinear contribution of eye velocity to motion perception

Kathleen A. Turano, Robert W. Massof

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that an extra-retinal signal combines with retinal velocity in a linear manner as described by existing models to determine perceived velocity. To do so, we utilized a method that allowed the determination of the relative contributions of the retinal-velocity and the extra-retinal signals for the perception of stimulus velocity. We determined the velocity (speed and direction) of a stimulus viewed with stationary eyes that was perceptually the same as the velocity of the stimulus viewed with moving eyes. Eye movements were governed by the tracking (or pursuit) of a separate pursuit target. The velocity-matching data were unable to be fit with a model that linearly combined a retinal-velocity signal and an extra-retinal signal. A model that was successful in explaining the data was one that takes the difference between two simple saturating non-linear functions, g and f, each symmetric about the origin, but one having an interaction term. That is, the function g has two arguments: retinal velocity, Ṙ, and eye velocity, Ė. The only argument to f is retinal velocity, Ṙ. Each argument has a scaling parameter. A comparison of the goodness of fits between models demonstrated that the success of the model is the interaction term, i.e. the modification of the compensating eye velocity signal by the retinal velocity prior to combination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)385-395
Number of pages11
JournalVision Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Extra-retinal signal
  • Eye movements
  • Motion perception
  • Smooth pursuit eye movements

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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