López-Moliner J, Brenner E, Smeets J B J, 2004, "The role of texture in judging time to contact" Perception 33 ECVP Abstract Supplement
The role of texture in judging time to contact
J López-Moliner, E Brenner, J B J Smeets
When an object is going to hit you between the eyes, the time to contact is a simple function of the rate of optical expansion. When it is going to pass you, matters are more complicated. For instance, your view of the object changes as it moves, so its image will not only expand, but also deform. We examined whether this information helps subjects to estimate the moment that the object will pass. The objects were binocularly simulated spheres, for which the projected outline remains circular, but the texture deforms and translates within the outline during the approach. We presented either solid or textured spheres that were either rotating in space (nulling the texture motion within the outline) or not. The trajectory was displayed between 0.5 s and 0.7 s. Subjects had to decide whether the object passed them before or after a reference time (1 s) signaled by a beep. When there was no texture, subjects judged that the ball passed later than in the other two conditions. Thus the texture seems to be used to judge the object's time to contact, but we did not find evidence that subjects consider the motion of the texture within the contour.
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