A ratio model of perceived speed in the human visual system
The perceived speed of moving images changes over time. Prolonged viewing of a pattern (adaptation) leads to an exponential decrease in its perceived speed. Similarly, responses of neurones tuned to motion reduce exponentially over time. It is tempting to link these phenomena. However, under certain conditions, perceived speed increases after adaptation and the time course of these perceptual effects varies widely. We propose a model that comprises two temporally tuned mechanisms whose sensitivities reduce exponentially over time. Perceived speed is taken as the ratio of these filters' outputs. The model captures increases and decreases in perceived speed following adaptation and describes our data well with just four free parameters. Whilst the model captures perceptual time courses that vary widely, parameter estimates for the time constants of the underlying filters are in good agreement with estimates of the time course of adaptation of direction selective neurones in the mammalian visual system.