Global and local contributions to the optical specification of time to contact: Observer sensitivity to composite tau

R.J. Bootsma, Cathy Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

First-order time remaining until a moving observer will pass an environmental element is optically specified in two different ways. The specification provided by global tau (based on the pattern of change of angular bearing) requires that the element is stationary and that the direction of motion is accurately detected, whereas the specification provided by composite tau (based on the patterns of change of optical size and optical distance) does not require either of these. We obtained converging evidence,for our hypothesis. that observers are sensitive to composite tau in four experiments involving, relative judgments of, time to, passage with forced-choice methodology. Discrimination performance was enhanced in the presence of a local expansion component, while being unaffected when the detection of the direction of heading was impaired. Observers relied on the information carried in composite tau rather than on the information carried in its constituent components. Finally, performance was similar under conditions of observer motion and conditions of object motion. Because composite tau specifies first-order time remaining for a large number of situations, the different ways in which it may be detected are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)901-924
Number of pages24
JournalPerception
Volume31
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2002

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