Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics

, Volume 80, Issue 6, pp 1584–1590 | Cite as

Perception of time to contact of slow- and fast-moving objects using monocular and binocular motion information

  • Aaron J. FathEmail author
  • Mats Lind
  • Geoffrey P. Bingham


The role of the monocular-flow-based optical variable τ in the perception of the time to contact of approaching objects has been well-studied. There are additional contributions from binocular sources of information, such as changes in disparity over time (CDOT), but these are less understood. We conducted an experiment to determine whether an object’s velocity affects which source is most effective for perceiving time to contact. We presented participants with stimuli that simulated two approaching squares. During approach the squares disappeared, and participants indicated which square would have contacted them first. Approach was specified by (a) only disparity-based information, (b) only monocular flow, or (c) all sources of information in normal viewing conditions. As expected, participants were more accurate at judging fast objects when only monocular flow was available than when only CDOT was. In contrast, participants were more accurate judging slow objects with only CDOT than with only monocular flow. For both ranges of velocity, the condition with both information sources yielded performance equivalent to the better of the single-source conditions. These results show that different sources of motion information are used to perceive time to contact and play different roles in allowing for stable perception across a variety of conditions.


Time to contact Stereomotion Binocular vision Motion perception Binocular disparity CDOT Optic flow 


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Copyright information

© The Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aaron J. Fath
    • 1
    Email author
  • Mats Lind
    • 2
  • Geoffrey P. Bingham
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern MississippiHattiesburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Information TechnologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  3. 3.Department of Psychological and Brain SciencesIndiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA

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