Velocity constancy in a virtual reality environment

Hartwig K. Distler, Karl R. Gegenfurtner, Hendrik A.H.C. Van Veen, Michael J. Hawken

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During everyday life the brain is continuously integrating multiple perceptual cues in order to allow us to make decisions and to guide our actions. In this study we have used a simulated (virtual reality - VR) visual environment to investigate how cues to speed judgments are integrated. There are two sources that could be used to provide signals for velocity constancy: temporal-frequency or distance cues. However, evidence from most psychophysical studies favours temporal-frequency cues. Here we report that two depth cues that provide a relative object - object distance - disparity and motion parallax - can provide a significant input to velocity-constancy judgments, particularly when combined. This result indicates that the second mechanism can also play a significant role in generating velocity constancy. Furthermore, we show that cognitive factors, such as familiar size, can influence the perception of object speed. The results suggest that both low-level cues to spatiotemporal structure and depth, and high-level cues, such as object familiarity, are integrated by the brain during velocity estimation in real-world viewing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1423-1435
Number of pages13
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Artificial Intelligence


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