Illusory changes in the perceived speed of motion derived from proprioception and touch

Alessandro Moscatelli, Cecile R. Scotto, Marc O. Ernst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In vision, the perceived velocity of a moving stimulus differs depending on whether we pursue it with the eyes or not: A stimulus moving across the retina with the eyes stationary is perceived as being faster compared with a stimulus of the same physical speed that the observer pursues with the eyes, while its retinal motion is zero. This effect is known as the Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon. Here, we describe an analog phenomenon in touch. We asked participants to estimate the speed of a moving stimulus either from tactile motion only (i.e., motion across the skin), while keeping the hand world stationary, or from kinesthesia only by tracking the stimulus with a guided arm movement, such that the tactile motion on the finger was zero (i.e., only finger motion but no movement across the skin). Participants overestimated the velocity of the stimulus determined from tactile motion compared with kinesthesia in analogy with the visual Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon. In two follow-up experiments, we manipulated the stimulus noise by changing the texture of the touched surface. Similarly to the visual phenomenon, this significantly affected the strength of the illusion. This study supports the hypothesis of shared computations for motion processing between vision and touch.NEW & NOTEWORTHY In vision, the perceived velocity of a moving stimulus is different depending on whether we pursue it with the eyes or not, an effect known as the Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon. We describe an analog phenomenon in touch. We asked participants to estimate the speed of a moving stimulus either from tactile motion or by pursuing it with the hand. Participants overestimated the stimulus velocity measured from tactile motion compared with kinesthesia, in analogy with the visual Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1565
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume122
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2019

Keywords

  • Aubert–Fleischl phenomenon
  • kinesthesia
  • perceptual noise
  • spatial frequency
  • touch

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

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