Coding theory of the perception of motion configurations

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Abstract

Combined the gestalt ideas of pure movement, common fate, and the law of simplicity with G. Johansson's (1950) vector analysis and synthesis and E. L. Leeuwenberg's coding theory (1978) in a quantitative theory of the 2-dimensional perception of simple motions. A special coding model was devised to fit the simple circular and harmonic motions of Johansson's experiments, using amplitude, phase, frequency, orientation, and tilt as the 5 parameters of a simple motion. Information load was identified with the number of parameters required to represent a particular motion in memory. A physical motion can generally receive several equivalent interpretations, and it is assumed that the one that is the most economical of information load is the one that will be perceived. If 2 different interpretations have equal information loads, perceptual ambiguity is predicted. 16 displays were analyzed, of which 8 were predicted to be ambiguous. The theoretical predictions proved consistently correct, and several new observations were correctly predicted. It is suggested that this coding theory may provide a connection between visual perception and more propositional forms of cognitive representations. (17 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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