Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 76, Issue 5, pp 1350–1370 | Cite as

Contrasting accounts of direction and shape perception in short-range motion: Counterchange compared with motion energy detection

  • Joseph NormanEmail author
  • Howard Hock
  • Gregor Schöner


It has long been thought (e.g., Cavanagh & Mather, 1989) that first-order motion-energy extraction via space-time comparator-type models (e.g., the elaborated Reichardt detector) is sufficient to account for human performance in the short-range motion paradigm (Braddick, 1974), including the perception of reverse-phi motion when the luminance polarity of the visual elements is inverted during successive frames. Human observers’ ability to discriminate motion direction and use coherent motion information to segregate a region of a random cinematogram and determine its shape was tested; they performed better in the same-, as compared with the inverted-, polarity condition. Computational analyses of short-range motion perception based on the elaborated Reichardt motion energy detector (van Santen & Sperling, 1985) predict, incorrectly, that symmetrical results will be obtained for the same- and inverted-polarity conditions. In contrast, the counterchange detector (Hock, Schöner, & Gilroy, 2009) predicts an asymmetry quite similar to that of human observers in both motion direction and shape discrimination. The further advantage of counterchange, as compared with motion energy, detection for the perception of spatial shape- and depth-from-motion is discussed.


Short-range motion Motion energy detection Counterchange Reverse-phi 


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Complex Systems and Brain SciencesFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyFlorida Atlantic UniversityBoca RatonUSA
  3. 3.Institut für NeuroinformatikRuhr-Universität BochumBochumGermany

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