Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Optic Flow

  • Mandyam V. SrinivasanEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1299-1


When an animal moves, the image of its surrounding environment moves in the retinae of the animal’s eyes. The pattern of image motion (known as the “optic flow field,” OFF) bears rich information about the animal’s own motion (termed “egomotion”), about the distance to various nearby objects, the speed of locomotion, the distance the animal has traveled, and several other parameters. This entry highlights some of the cues that are contained in the optic flow field and describes how they are used to control locomotion and enable safe and accurate navigation through the environment.

The Relation of Optic Flow to Egomotion

When a flying animal turns (yaws) to the left, the image of the world appears to move to the right and vice versa. The OFF generated by a leftward yaw (counterclockwise rotation about the dorso-ventral axis) is shown in Fig. 1a, where the individual vectors depict the direction and magnitude of the image motion at each location in the animal’s visual field...
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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland Brain Institute and School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering. The University of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

Section editors and affiliations

  • Oskar Pineno
    • 1
  1. 1.Hofstra UniversityLong IslandUSA