Nonretinotopic perception of orientation: Temporal integration of basic features operates in object-based coordinates

Andreas Wutz, Jan Drewes, David Melcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Early, feed-forward visual processing is organized in a retinotopic reference frame. In contrast, visual feature integration on longer time scales can involve objectbased or spatiotopic coordinates. For example, in the Ternus-Pikler (T-P) apparent motion display, object identity is mapped across the object motion path. Here, we report evidence from three experiments supporting nonretinotopic feature integration even for the most paradigmatic example of retinotopically-defined features: orientation. We presented observers with a repeated series of T-P displays in which the perceived rotation of Gabor gratings indicates processing in either retinotopic or object-based coordinates. In Experiment 1, the frequency of perceived retinotopic rotations decreased exponentially for longer interstimulus intervals (ISIs) between T-P display frames, with objectbased percepts dominating after about 150-250 ms. In a second experiment, we show that motion and rotation judgments depend on the perception of a moving object during the T-P display ISIs rather than only on temporal factors. In Experiment 3, we cued the observers' attentional state either toward a retinotopic or object motion-based reference frame and then tracked both the observers' eye position and the time course of the perceptual bias while viewing identical T-P display sequences. Overall, we report novel evidence for spatiotemporal integration of even basic visual features such as orientation in nonretinotopic coordinates, in order to support perceptual constancy across self- and object motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number3
JournalJournal of vision
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2016


  • Eye movements
  • Object-based
  • Orientation
  • Retinotopic
  • Ternus-Pikler display

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems


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