Nulling the motion aftereffect with dynamic random-dot stimuli: Limitations and implications


  • Castet Eric
  • Keeble David R. T.
  • Verstraten Frans A. J.

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We used biased random-dot dynamic test stimuli to measure the strength of the motion aftereffect (MAE) to evaluate the usefulness of this technique as a measure of motion adaptation strength. The stimuli consisted of noise dots whose individual directions were random and of signal dots moving in a unique direction. All dots moved at the same speed. For each condition, the nulling percentage (percentage of signal dots needed to perceptually null the MAE) was scaled with respect to the coherence threshold (percentage needed to perceive the coherent motion of signal dots without prior adaptation). The increase of these scaled values with the density of dots in the test stimulus suggests that MAE strength is underestimated when measured with low densities. We show that previous reports of high nulling percentages at slow speeds do not reflect strong MAEs, but are actually due to spatio-temporal aliasing, which dramatically increases coherence thresholds. We further show that MAE strength at slow speed increases with eccentricity. These findings are consistent with the idea that using this dynamic test stimulus preferentially reveals the adaptation of a population of highspeed motion units whose activity is independent of adapted low-speed motion units.

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