Two psychophysical experiments were conducted to investigate the mechanism that generates stable depth structure from retinal motion combined with extraretinal signals from pursuit eye movements. Stimuli consisted of random dots that moved horizontally in one direction (ie stimuli had common motion on the retina), but at different speeds between adjacent rows. The stimuli were presented with different speeds of pursuit eye movements whose direction was opposite to that of the common retinal motion. Experiment 1 showed that the rows moving faster on the retina appeared closer when viewed without eye movements; however, they appeared farther when pursuit speed exceeded the speed of common retinal motion. The 'transition' speed of the pursuit eye movement was slightly, but consistently, larger than the speed of common retinal motion. Experiment 2 showed that parallax thresholds for perceiving relative motion between adjacent rows were minimum at the transition speed found in experiment 1. These results suggest that the visual system calculates head-centric velocity, by adding retinal velocity and pursuit velocity, to obtain a stable depth structure.
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