The effects of dynamic colour modulation on vection were investigated to examine whether perceived variation of illumination affects self-motion perception. Participants observed expanding optic flow which simulated their forward self-motion. Onset latency, accumulated duration, and estimated magnitude of the self-motion were measured as indices of vection strength. Colour of the dots in the visual stimulus was modulated between white and red (experiment 1), white and grey (experiment 2), and grey and red (experiment 3). The results indicated that coherent colour oscillation in the visual stimulus significantly suppressed the strength of vection, whereas incoherent or static colour modulation did not affect vection. There was no effect of the types of the colour modulation; both achromatic and chromatic modulations turned out to be effective in inhibiting self-motion perception. Moreover, in a situation where the simulated direction of a spotlight was manipulated dynamically, vection strength was also suppressed (experiment 4). These results suggest that observer's perception of illumination is critical for self-motion perception, and rapid variation of perceived illumination would impair the reliabilities of visual information in determining self-motion.
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