If you want to challenge your brain to the ultimate test, look at the optical illusion above. Right off the bat, you will say that the lines are moving down, starting from the top right side and ending on the bottom left side. Has your brain been able to guess the motion of the lines correctly?
Nope, your brain failed the challenge. The big revelation is that the lines are moving in an upward direction, starting from the bottom right side and ending on the top left side. Peculiar, yes, for the logic behind it, let’s find out, but first you should understand the basics of motion perception before the big reveal.
Motion perception is a widely studied topic by psychologists and neurologists who found motion perception as a difficult subject to shed light on in terms of neural processing. Thus, making motion perception an even more interesting topic to explore and further delve in. After establishing countless studies and researching in-depth on motion perception, researchers were able to provide people with two clues, the first-order and second-order of motion perception.
Defining First-order of Motion Perception
Researchers credited Beta movement as being the first order of motion perception. They described beta movement as an object that appears to move, but in reality, is a sequence of motionless images. Sometimes referred to as apparent movement, you can see beta movement in the making of movies and TV shows. If you speed up the image, you can see the object of the same color as its background moving amongst each stimulus, which the scientists labeled pure motion or the first-order.
Defining Second-order of Motion Perception
The second-order of motion perception differs from the first-order in the sense that it doesn’t focus on the brightness of the moving object, instead focuses on the contrast, flicker, and contrast. Researchers concluded that this is because your brain might have two separate pathways. Now, that you know about the two orders of motion perception, you’re ready for the big reveal.
Your Brain is Suffering from an Aperture Problem
Neurons are a vital part of your visual field and their presence leads you to see objects differently than they appear. As a result, the direction the lines are moving creates an unclear and ambiguous problem because your visual system is unable to register it. Therefore, your neurons will only respond to what crosses their receptive field regardless of the direction and movement of the line, thus creating the aperture problem.
Motion Perception gives you a new insight on how your brain perceives moving lines and on how it’s unable able to register its true movement due to a simple aperture problem.