Enhanced discriminability for nonbiological motion violating the two-thirds power law


The two-thirds power law describes the relationship between velocity and curvature in human motor movements. Interestingly, this motor law also affects visual motion perception, in which stimuli moving according to the two-thirds power law are perceived to have a constant velocity compared to stimuli actually moving at constant velocity. Thus, visual motion adhering to biological motion principles causes a kinematic illusion of smooth and velocity-invariant motion. However, it is yet unclear how this motion law affects the discrimination of visual stimuli and if its encoding requires attention. Here we tested the perceptual discrimination of stimuli following biological (two-thirds power law) or nonbiological movement under conditions in which the stimuli were degraded or masked through continuous flash suppression. Additionally, we tested subjective perception of naturalness and velocity consistency. Our results show that the discriminability of a visual target is inversely related to the perceived “naturalness” of its movement. Discrimination of stimuli following the two-thirds power law required more time than the same stimuli moving at constant velocity or nonecological variants of the two-thirds power law and was present for both masked and degraded stimuli.

Journal of vision