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No role for motion blur in either motion detection or motion-based image segmentation

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Abstract

The human contrast sensitivity function is bandpass in form for stimuli of low temporal frequency but low pass for flickering or moving stimuli. Because the loss in sensitivity to moving stimuli is large, images moving on the retina have little perceptible high-spatial-frequency content. The loss of high-spatial-frequency content—often referred to as motion blur—provides a potential cue to motion. The amount of motion blur is a function of stimulus velocity but is significant at velocities encountered by the visual system in everyday situations. Our experiments determined the influence of high-spatial-frequency losses induced by motion of this order on motion detection and on motion-based image segmentation. Motion detection and motion-based segmentation tasks were performed with either spectrally low-pass or spectrally broadband stimuli. Performance on these tasks was compared with a condition having no motion but in which form differences mimicked the perceptual loss of high spatial frequencies produced by motion. This allowed the relative salience of motion and motion-induced blur to be determined. Neither image segmentation nor motion detection was sensitive to the high-spatial-frequency content of the stimuli. Thus the change in perceptual form produced in moving stimuli is not normally used as a cue either for motion detection or for motion-based image segmentation in ordinary situations.

© 1998 Optical Society of America

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