Bias to experience approaching motion in a three-dimensional virtual environment

Clifford F. Lewis, Michael McBeath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


We used two-frame apparent motion in a three-dimensional virtual environment to test whether observers had biases to experience approaching or receding motion in depth. Observers viewed a tunnel of tiles receding in depth, that moved ambiguously either toward or away from them. We found that observers exhibited biases to experience approaching motion. The strengths of the biases were decreased when stimuli pointed away, but size of the display screen had no effect. Tests with diamond-shaped tiles that varied in the degree of pointing asymmetry resulted in a linear trend in which the bias was strongest for stimuli pointing toward the viewer, and weakest for stimuli pointing away. We show that the overall bias to experience approaching motion is consistent with a computational strategy of matching corresponding features between adjacent foreshortened stimuli in consecutive visual frames. We conclude that there are both adaptational and geometric reasons to favor the experience of approaching motion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)259-276
Number of pages18
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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