Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

Self-motion and the perception of stationary objects

By Mark Wexler, Francesco Panerai, Ivan Lamouret and Jacques Droulez


One of the ways we perceive shape is through seeing motion. Visual motion may be actively generated (for example, in locomotion), or passively observed. In the study of how we perceive 3D structure from motion (SfM), the non-moving, passive observer in an environment of moving rigid objects has been used as a substitute for an active observer moving in an environment of stationary objects; the 'rigidity hypothesis' has played a central role in computational and experimental studies of SfM. Here we demonstrate that this substitution is not fully adequate, because active observers perceive 3D structure differently from passive observers, despite experiencing the same visual stimulus: active observers' perception of 3D structure depends on extra-visual self-motion information. Moreover, the visual system, making use of the self-motion information treats objects that are stationary (in an allocentric, earth-fixed reference frame) differently from objects that are merely rigid. These results show that action plays a central role in depth perception, and argue for a revision of the rigidity hypothesis to incorporate the special case of stationary objects

Topics: Behavioral Neuroscience, Perceptual Cognitive Psychology, Psychophysics
Year: 2001
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (1999). A 6-dof device to measure head movements in active vision experiments: Geometric modeling and metric accuracy.
  2. (1988). Active vision.
  3. (1956). Circles and derived figures in rotation.
  4. (1962). Depth perception in rotating dot patterns.
  5. (1995). Measurement and modeling of depth cue combination: in defense of weak fusion.
  6. (1990). Monocular stereopsis with and without head movement.
  7. (1979). Motion parallax as an independent cue for depth perception.
  8. (1996). Non-visual information in structure-frommotion.
  9. (1986). Optic flow.
  10. (1993). Perceiving surface orientation: Pictorial information based on rectangularity can be overridden during observer motion.
  11. (1995). Perception of three-dimensional shape from egoand object-motion: comparison between small- and large-field stimuli.
  12. (1985). Rigid objects that appear highly non-rigid.
  13. (1996). Role of learning in three-dimensional form perception.
  14. (1998). Separate body- and world-referenced representations of visual space in parietal cortex.
  15. Similarities between motion parallax and stereopsis in human depth perception.
  16. (1983). Surface tilt (the direction of slant): a neglected psychophysical variable. Perception and Psychophysics,
  17. (1952). The Ames demonstrations in perception.
  18. (1969). The determination of perceived tridimensional orientation by minimum criteria. Perception and Psychophysics,
  19. (1979). The ecological approach to visual perception. Houghton-Mifflin,
  20. (1978). The hippocampus as a cognitive map.
  21. (1980). The interpretation of a moving retinal image.
  22. (1979). The interpretation of visual motion.
  23. (1953). The kinetic depth effect.
  24. (1998). The perceived rigidity of rotating eight-vertex geometric forms: extracting nonrigid struc5 ture from rigid motion.
  25. (1999). The perception of surface orientation in small and wide-field.
  26. (1992). Visual and nonvisual information disambiguate surfaces specified by motion parallax.
  27. Visual information about rigid and non-rigid motion: a geometric analysis.
  28. (1951). Visual perception and the rotating trapezoidal window.
  29. (1973). Visual perception of biological motion and a model for its analysis. Perception and Psychophysics,
  30. (1998). Visual self-motion perception during head turns.

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.