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We tested the hypothesis that long-term adaptation to the normal contingencies between walking and its multisensory consequences (including optic flow) leads to enhanced discrimination of appropriate visual speeds during self-motion. In experiments I (task 1) and 2 a two-interval forced-choice procedure was used to compare the perceived speed of a simulated visual flow field viewed while walking with the perceived speed of a flow field viewed while standing. Both experiments demonstrated subtractive reductions in apparent speed. In experiments I and 3 discrimination thresholds were measured for optic flow speed while walking and while standing. Consistent with the optimal-coding hypothesis, speed discrimination for visual speeds near walking speed was enhanced during walking. Reduced sensitivity was found for slower visual speeds. The multisensory context of walking alters the coding of optic flow in a way that enhances speed discrimination in the expected range of flow speeds.


This work is freely available courtesy of Pion.
Frank H. Durgin and Krista Gigone, 2007. The definitive, peer-reviewed and edited version of this article is published in Perception, 36, 10, 1465-1475, 2007, doi:10.1068/p5845.

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