Extrapolation of linear motion.
We investigated observers' ability to extrapolate a linear trajectory of a moving point, in order to determine how effectively the visual system can combine orientation and position information for moving stimuli. Observers saw a probe dot moving along a straight line toward a stationary target dot. The probe dot extinguished before reaching the target, and the observers' task was to judge whether an extrapolation of the trajectory of the probe would pass to the left or right of the target. Performance was measured as a function of probe velocity, length of the visible trajectory, and location of the target. The empirical results indicated that over a range of conditions, performance on this task is qualitatively similar to, but somewhat less accurate than, that on an analogous task with static stimuli. A four-component model is presented to account for the results. The model specifies an accurate extraction of probe motion parameters, extrapolation of the motion by an ideal observer, and limitations on the input to these processes in the form of visual field spatial inhomogeneity and temporal decay of position information.