Perception & Psychophysics

, Volume 68, Issue 5, pp 872–878 | Cite as

Perception of heading without retinal optic flow

  • Kristen L. MacugaEmail author
  • Jack M. Loomis
  • Andrew C. Beall
  • Jonathan W. Kelly


How do we determine where we are heading during visually controlled locomotion? Psychophysical research has shown that humans are quite good at judging their travel direction, or heading, from retinal optic flow. Here we show that retinal optic flow is sufficient, but not necessary, for determining heading. By using a purely cyclopean stimulus (random dot cinematogram), we demonstrate heading perception without retinal optic flow. We also show that heading judgments are equally accurate for the cyclopean stimulus and a conventional optic flow stimulus, when the two are matched for motion visibility. The human visual system thus demonstrates flexible, robust use of available visual cues for perceiving heading direction.


Motion Visibility Target Line Frontoparallel Plane Optic Flow Stimulus Optic Flow Information 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristen L. Macuga
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jack M. Loomis
    • 1
  • Andrew C. Beall
    • 1
  • Jonathan W. Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of CaliforniaSanta Barbara

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