Internal noise measures in coarse and fine motion direction discrimination tasks and the correlation with autism traits

Edwina R. Orchard, Steven C. Dakin, Jeroen J.A. van Boxtel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Motion perception is essential for visual guidance of behavior and is known to be limited by both internal additive noise (i.e., a constant level of random fluctuations in neural activity independent of the stimulus) and motion pooling (global integration of local motion signals across space). People with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) display abnormalities in motion processing, which have been linked to both elevated noise and abnormal pooling. However, to date, the impact of a third limit-induced internal noise (internal noise that scales up with increases in external stimulus noise)-has not been investigated in motion perception of any group. Here, we describe an extension on the double-pass paradigm to quantify additive noise and induced noise in a motion paradigm. We also introduce a new way to experimentally estimate motion pooling. We measured the impact of induced noise on direction discrimination, which we ascribe to fluctuations in decision-related variables. Our results are suggestive of higher internal noise in individuals with high ASD traits only on coarse but not fine motion direction discrimination tasks. However, we report no significant correlations between autism traits and additive noise, induced noise, or motion pooling in either task. We conclude that, under some conditions, the internal noise may be higher in individuals with pronounced ASD traits and that the assessment of induced internal noise is a useful way of exploring decision-related limits on motion perception, irrespective of ASD traits.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19
Number of pages1
JournalJournal of Vision
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sep 2022

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