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Head-centred motion perception in the ageing visual system

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image of Spatial Vision
For more content, see Multisensory Research and Seeing and Perceiving.

Stationary objects appear to move in the opposite direction to a pursuit eye movement (Filehne illusion) and moving objects appear slower when pursued (Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon). Both illusions imply that extra-retinal, eye-velocity signals lead to lower estimates of speed than corresponding retinal motion signals. Intriguingly, the velocity (i.e. speed and direction) of the Filehne illusion depends on the age of the observer, especially for brief display durations (Wertheim and Bekkering, 1992). This suggests relative signal size changes as the visual system matures. To test the signal-size hypothesis, we compared the Filehne illusion and Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon in young and old observers using short and long display durations. The trends in the Filehne data were similar to those reported by Wertheim and Bekkering. However, we found no evidence for an effect of age or duration in the Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon. The differences between the two illusions could not be reconciled on the basis of actual eye movements made. The findings suggest a more complicated explanation of the combined influence of age and duration on head-centred motion perception than that described by the signal-size hypothesis.


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