Creating stimuli for the study of biological-motion perception


DOI: 10.3758/BF03195465

Cite this article as:
Dekeyser, M., Verfaillie, K. & Vanrie, J. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers (2002) 34: 375. doi:10.3758/BF03195465


In the perception of biological motion, the stimulus information is confined to a small number of lights attached to the major joints of a moving person. Despite this drastic degradation of the stimulus information, the human visual apparatus organizes the swarm of moving dots into a vivid percept of a moving biological creature. Several techniques have been proposed to create point-light stimuli: placing dots at strategic locations on photographs or films, video recording a person with markers attached to the body, computer animation based on artificial synthesis, and computer animation based on motion-capture data. A description is given of the technique we are currently using in our laboratory to produce animated point-light figures. The technique is based on a combination of motion capture and three-dimensional animation software (Character Studio, Autodesk, Inc., 1998). Some of the advantages of our approach are that the same actions can be shown from any viewpoint, that point-light versions, as well as versions with a full-fleshed character, can be created of the same actions, and that point lights can indicate the center of a joint (thereby eliminating several disadvantages associated with other techniques).

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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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