‘Motion dazzle’ is the hypothesis that predators may misjudge the speed or direction of moving prey which have high-contrast patterning, such as stripes. However, there is currently little experimental evidence that such patterns cause visual illusions. Here, observers binocularly tracked a Gabor target, moving with a linear trajectory randomly chosen within 18° of the horizontal. This target then became occluded, and observers were asked to judge where they thought it would later cross a vertical line to the side. We found that internal motion of the stripes within the Gabor biased judgements as expected: Gabors with upwards internal stripe motion relative to the overall direction of motion were perceived to be crossing above Gabors with downwards internal stripe movement. However, surprisingly, we found a much stronger effect of the rigid pattern orientation. Patches with oblique stripes pointing upwards relative to the direction of motion were perceived to cross above patches with downward-pointing stripes. This effect occurred only at high speeds, suggesting that it may reflect an orientation-dependent effect in which spatial signals are used in direction judgements. These findings have implications for our understanding of motion dazzle mechanisms and how human motion and form processing interact.
- Received January 4, 2017.
- Accepted February 9, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.