Perception of opposite-direction motion in random dot kinematograms

Gi Yeul Bae, Steven J. Luck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Computational models of motion perception suggest that the perceived direction of weak motion signals may sometimes be directly opposite to the true stimulus motion direction. However, this possibility cannot be assessed by using standard 2AFC motion discrimination paradigms because two opposite directions of motion were used in most studies (e.g., leftward vs. rightward). We were able to obtain robust evidence of opposite-direction motion reports by using a random-dot-kinematogram (RDK) paradigm in which the motion direction varied over 360° and observers were asked to estimate the exact motion direction. These opposite-direction motion reports were replicable across multiple display types and feedback conditions, and observers had greater confidence in their opposite-direction responses than in true guess responses. When we fed RDKs into a computational model of motion processing, we found that the model estimated substantial motion activity in the direction opposite to the coherent stimulus direction, even though no such motion was objectively present in the stimuli, suggesting that the opposite-direction motion perception may be a consequence of the properties of motion-selective neurons in visual cortex. Together, these results demonstrate that the known properties of the visual system may lead to reports of motion that are directly opposite to the true direction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-303
Number of pages15
JournalVisual Cognition
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2022


  • Motion perception
  • RDK
  • continuous direction estimation
  • opposite direction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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