Feature matching and segmentation in motion perception

NE Scott-Samuel, Mark A Georgeson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


We examined the role of feature matching in motion perception. The stimulus sequence was constructed from a vertical, 1 cycle deg–1 sinusoidal grating divided into horizontal strips of equal height, where alternate strips moved leftward and rightward. The initial relative phase of adjacent strips was either 0° (aligned) or 90° (non–aligned) and the motion was sampled at 90° phase steps. A blank interstimulus interval (ISI) of 0 to 117 ms was introduced between each 33 ms presentation of the stimulus frames. The observers had to identify the direction of motion of the central strip. Motion was perceived correctly at short ISIs, but at longer ISIs performance was much better for the non–aligned sequence than the aligned sequence. This difference in performance may reflect a role for feature correspondence and grouping of features in motion perception at longer ISIs. In the aligned sequence half the frames consisted of a single coherent vertical grating, while the interleaved frames contained short strips. We argue that to achieve feature matching over time, the long edge and bar features must be broken up perceptually (segmented) into shorter elements before these short segments can appear to move in opposite directions. This idea correctly predicted that overlaying narrow, stationary, black horizontal lines at the junctions of the grating strips would improve performance in the aligned condition. The results support the view that, in addition to motion energy, feature analysis and feature tracking play an important role in motion perception.
Translated title of the contributionFeature matching and segmentation in motion perception
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2289 - 2294
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1435
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 1999

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