Abstract

Human observers can discriminate a 5% difference in velocity for a wide range of velocities. Using an apparent-motion stimulus, we demonstrated that velocity discrimination depends on the detection of small changes in asynchrony, changes of the order of 1 msec or less. The simplest component of an apparent-motion stimulus is a pair of spatially separate lines presented asynchronously. Generally the incremental asynchrony threshold for a single pair of lines is much too large to account for velocity discrimination. A sequence of five to eight asynchronously presented targets, equivalent to continuous motion viewed for a duration of 80–100 msec, is required to reach asymptotic velocity discrimination. Our experiments rule out probability summation as the explanation for the enhanced temporal sensitivity observed with the sequential presentation of multiple asynchronous targets. Sequential recruitment, a descriptive term for this enhanced temporal sensitivity, depends on the summation of a velocity-specific signal within the physiological network responding to motion.

© 1985 Optical Society of America

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