Interaction between perceived self-motion and object-motion impairs vehicle guidance

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Science  03 Aug 1984:
Vol. 225, Issue 4661, pp. 536-538
DOI: 10.1126/science.6740325


When one is riding in a vehicle, perceptual thresholds for motion of objects are significantly elevated above those determined under corresponding but simulated conditions in the laboratory without concurrent self-motion perception. Authorities on road traffic accidents should thus consider an additional perceptual time of at least 300 milliseconds for detecting critical changes in headway beyond the usual reaction time. Detection times thus corrected consequently lead to an alteration of our conception of safe intervehicle distances in a convoy. This elevation of thresholds for object-motion during self-motion, with its consequences for visual control of vehicle guidance, can be seen as a disadvantageous side effect of an otherwise beneficial space-constancy mechanism, which provides us with a stable world during locomotion.