Study questions assumptions about human sensitivity to biological motion

Oct 17, 2007

Humans may not be any more sensitive in detecting biological motion compared with nonbiological motion, concludes a study recently published in Journal of Vision, an online, free-access publication of the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).

Dr Eric Hiris of St. Mary's College of Maryland, (St Mary's City, MD, US) contends that although many papers on the subject begin with statements to the effect that humans are particularly sensitive in detecting point-light biological motion, little research has been performed that supports this.

Previous research in this area, according to Hiris, generally has failed to take into account form information in biological motion and/or has used masks that were less than optimal for biological motion.

Using point-light displays, Hiris's study, described in "Detection of biological and nonbiological motion," (www.journalofvision.org/7/12/4/) compared biological motion to nonbiological motion with and without an underlying form; equated the effectiveness of masks across displays; and presented targets of various sizes within a constant-sized mask area to determine if mask density predicted detection performance.

Hiris concludes that the resulting evidence does not show that humans are better able to detect biological motion if nonbiological motion contains an underlying form, and, in some cases, even if it does not.

"Do researchers sometimes state conclusions in ways that go beyond the data?" asks Hiris. "Specifically, what do researchers mean when they say we're 'highly sensitive' to some aspect of motion? These findings may highlight the need to be careful about how we couch our conclusions."

Source: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

Explore further: Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Were clinical trial practices in East Germany questionable?

8 hours ago

Clinical trials carried out in the former East Germany in the second half of the 20th century were not always with the full knowledge or understanding of participants with some questionable practices taking place, according ...

Schumacher's doctor sees progress after injury

23 hours ago

A French physician who treated Michael Schumacher for nearly six months after the Formula One champion struck his head in a ski accident says he is no longer in a coma and predicted a possible recovery within three years.

User comments : 0