Abstract

There is ample evidence that the perception of movement, both real and apparent, is substantially impaired at isoluminance. Models of movement perception require spatial and temporal information about the stimulus. We ask whether changes at isoluminance result from a spatial or a temporal error or uncertainty. Reaction times to three kinds of stimulus were measured: (a) temporal stimuli, such as the onset of a square in a known location; (b) spatial stimuli, a vernier displacement of two squares; and (c) spatiotemporal stimuli, moving squares either starting or stopping. The results suggest that there is relatively little effect of isoluminance on purely temporal tasks (a). Longer reaction times were, however, obtained for detecting vernier offset (b). The reaction times to moving stimuli (c) were also slower at isoluminance to an extent that implies that perceived velocity at isoluminance is approximately 30% less than that seen at 8% contrast. The slowing of reaction times at isoluminance could be mimicked by adding random positional jitter to a nonisoluminant moving stimulus and also by presenting a low- contrast monochromatic stimulus. A simple explanation of the data is given in terms of a motion-detecting unit coupled to a temporal integrator. It is shown how such a unit can encode perceived velocity. The results of these experiments suggest that the neural coding of isoluminant stimuli is similar to that of low-contrast luminance stimuli and therefore that isoluminance may not be an effective method to find out whether specific visual mechanisms are color-blind.

© 1988 Optical Society of America

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