We examined the effect of the smoothness of motion on vection strength. The smoothness of stimulus motion was modulated by varying the number of frames comprising the movement. In this study, a horizontal grating translated through 360° of phase in 1 s divided into steps of 3, 4, 6, 12, 20, 30, or 60 frames. We hypothesized that smoother motion should induce stronger vection because the smoother stimulus is more natural and contains more motion energy. We examined this effect of frame number on vection for both downward (Experiment 1) and expanding (Experiment 2) optical flow. The results clearly showed that vection strength increased with increasing frame rate, however, the rates of increase in the vection strength with frame rate are not constant, but rapidly increase in the low frame-rate range and appear to asymptote in the high range. The strength estimates saturated at lower frame rates for expanding flow than for downward flow. This might be related to the fact that to process expanding flow it is necessary to integrate motion signals across the visual field. We conclude that the smoothness of the motion stimulus highly affects vection induction.
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