Detecting binocular 3D motion in static 3D noise: No effect of viewing distance

J. M. Harris*, J. H. Sumnall

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Relative binocular disparity cannot tell us the absolute 3D shape of an object, nor the 3D trajectory of its motion, unless the visual system has independent access to how far away the object is at any moment. Indeed, as the viewing distance is changed, the same disparate retinal motions will correspond to very different real 3D trajectories. In this paper we were interested in whether binocular 3D motion detection is affected by viewing distance. A visual search task was used, in which the observer is asked to detect a target dot, moving in 3D, amidst 3D stationary distractor dots. We found that distance does not affect detection performance. Motion-in-depth is consistently harder to detect than the equivalent lateral motion, for all viewing distances. For a constant retinal motion with both lateral and motion-in-depth components, detection performance is constant despite variations in viewing distance that produce large changes in the direction of the 3D trajectory. We conclude that binocular 3D motion detection relies on retinal, not absolute, visual signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalSpatial Vision
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2001


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