When motion appears stopped: Stereo motion standstill

Chia Huei Tseng, Joetta L. Gobell, Zhong Lin Lu, George Sperling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Motion standstill is different from the usual perceptual experiences associated with objects in motion. In motion standstill, a pattern that is moving quite rapidly is perceived as being motionless, and yet its details are not blurred but clearly visible. We revisited motion standstill in dynamic random-dot stereograms similar to those first used by Julesz and Payne [Julesz B, Payne R (1968) Vision Res 8:433-444]. Three improvements were made to their paradigm to avoid possible confounds: The temporal frequency of the motion stimuli was manipulated independently from that of individual stereo gratings so that the failure of motion perception is not due to inability to compute stereo. The motion of the stereo gratings was continuous across the visual field so that the perceived pattern in motion standstill was not a simple average of a back-and-forth display wobble over time. Observers discriminated three spatial frequencies to demonstrate pattern recognition. Three objective psychophysical methods, instead of merely self-report, were used to objectively demonstrate motion standstill. Our results confirm that motion standstill occurs in dynamic random-dot stereogram motion displays at 4-6 Hz. Motion standstill occurs when the stimulus spatiotemporal frequency combination exceeds that of the salience-based third-order motion system in a spatiotemporal frequency range in which the shape and depth systems still function. The ability of shape systems to extract a representative image from a series of moving samples is a significant component of a biological system's ability to derive a stable perceptual world from a constantly changing visual environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14953-14958
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number40
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Oct 3
Externally publishedYes


  • Illusions
  • Perception
  • Psychophysics
  • Stereopsis
  • Vision

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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