Abstract

Motion is fully described by a direction and a speed. The processing of direction information by the visual system has been extensively studied; much less is known, however, about the processing of speed. Although it is generally accepted that the direction of motion is processed by a single motion system, no such consensus exists for speed. Psychophysical data from humans suggest two separate systems processing luminance-based fast and slow speeds, whereas neurophysiological recordings in monkeys generally show continuous speed representation, hinting at a single system. Although the neurophysiological findings hint at a single system, they remain inconclusive as only a limited amount of cells can be measured per study and, possibly, the putative different motion systems are anatomically separate. In three psychophysical motion adaptation experiments, we show that predictions on the basis of the two-motion system hypothesis are not met. Instead, concurrent modeling showed that both here-presented and previous data are consistent with a single system subserving human speed perception. These findings have important implications for computational models of motion processing and the low-level organization of the process.

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