Optical motions as information for unsigned depth

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Optical motions and gradients of retinal flow have been assumed to be an important source of information for the perception of spatial layout. In the case of lateral parallax, however, the complicating effects of smooth eye movements on retinal flow fields and the known insensitivity of the visual system to absolute motion suggest that optical motions alone cannot provide the basis for accurate perception of the direction (sign) of depth relations. At most they can provide information for “unsigned” depth. Results of 2 experiments with 15 university students and staff members support the view that differential optical motions result in a strong impression of separation of objects in depth, but that the determination of near-far relations normally depends on other sources of information. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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