An array of moving circular stimuli was used to determine whether perceived speed is affected by the oculomotor responses associated with changes in viewing distance. The perceived speed of stimuli viewed at either 0.33 or 1.33 m was compared to the perceived speed of a similar stimulus viewed at a distance of 5.5 m. In addition, a control condition was run in which changes in perceived speed were compared for monocular viewing of the 0.33 m and 5.5 m stimuli. In the binocular condition, there were statistically significant decreases in perceived speed of about 11% for the 0.33 m viewing distance, and about 6.5% for the 1.33 m viewing distance. There was no significant decrease in perceived speed in the monocular condition. This latter finding, along with the similar appearance of the near and far stimuli in the monocular condition, suggests that ocular vergence (as opposed to accommodation or vergence-accommodation) was the primary determinant of the change in perceived speed with changes in binocular viewing distance. Although the change in perceived speed with fixation distance was relatively small, the data from all observers were in the direction of speed constancy. Thus, to the extent that vergence is a cue to egocentric distance, the present data suggest that egocentric distance is used to scale the perceived speed of targets moving at different distances from the observer.
© 2008 Optical Society of AmericaPDF Article