Simulated forward and backward self motion, based on realistic parameters, causes motion induced blindness

Victoria Thomas, Matthew Davidson, Parisa Zakavi, Naotsugu Tsuchiya, Jeroen Van Boxtel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)


Motion Induced Blindness (MIB) is a well-established visual phenomenon whereby highly salient targets disappear when viewed against a moving background mask. No research has yet explored whether contracting and expanding optic flow can also trigger target disappearance. We explored MIB using mask speeds corresponding to driving at 35, 50, 65 and 80 km/h in simulated forward (expansion) and backward (contraction) motion as well as 2-D radial movement, random, and static mask motion types. Participants (n = 18) viewed MIB targets against masks with different movement types, speed, and target locations. To understand the relationship between saccades, pupil response and perceptual disappearance, we ran two additional eye-tracking experiments (n = 19). Target disappearance increased significantly with faster mask speeds and upper visual field target presentation. Simulated optic flow and 2-D radial movement caused comparable disappearance, and all moving masks caused significantly more disappearance than a static mask. Saccades could not entirely account for differences between conditions, suggesting that self-motion optic flow does cause MIB in an artificial setting. Pupil analyses implied that MIB disappearance induced by optic flow is not subjectively salient, potentially explaining why MIB is not noticed during driving. Potential implications of MIB for driving safety and Head-Up-Display (HUD) technologies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9767
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


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