Depth propagation and surface construction in 3-D vision

Mark A. Georgeson, Timothy A. Yates, Andrew J. Schofield

Research output: Unpublished contribution to conferenceUnpublished Conference Paperpeer-review


Motion discontinuities can signal object boundaries where few or no other cues, such as luminance, colour, or texture, are available. Hence, motion-defined contours are an ecologically important counterpart to luminance contours. We developed a novel motion-defined Gabor stimulus to investigate the nature of neural operators analysing visual motion fields in order to draw parallels with known luminance operators. Luminance-defined Gabors have been successfully used to discern the spatial-extent and spatial-frequency specificity of possible visual contour detectors. We now extend these studies into the motion domain. We define a stimulus using limited-lifetime moving dots whose velocity is described over 2-D space by a Gabor pattern surrounded by randomly moving dots. Participants were asked to determine whether the orientation of the Gabor pattern (and hence of the motion contours) was vertical or horizontal in a 2AFC task, and the proportion of correct responses was recorded. We found that with practice participants became highly proficient at this task, able in certain cases to reach 90% accuracy with only 12 limited-lifetime dots. However, for both practised and novice participants we found that the ability to detect a single boundary saturates with the size of the Gaussian envelope of the Gabor at approximately 5 deg full-width at half-height. At this optimal size we then varied spatial frequency and found the optimum was at the lowest measured spatial frequency (0.1 cycle deg-1 ) and then steadily decreased with higher spatial frequencies, suggesting that motion contour detectors may be specifically tuned to a single, isolated edge.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2006
Event11th Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting - Aston University, Birmingham (UK), United Kingdom
Duration: 18 Dec 2006 → …


Other11th Applied Vision Association Christmas Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
CityAston University, Birmingham (UK)
Period18/12/06 → …

Bibliographical note

Abstract published in Eleventh Applied Vision Christmas Meeting, in Perception, 2007, 36(2), pp. 304-305, ISSN 0001-4966.


  • motion discontinuities
  • object boundaries
  • motion-defined contours
  • luminance contour
  • visual motion fields
  • luminance operators
  • motion contour detectors


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