It is well established that all kinds of visual attributes are processed separately within the brain. This separation is related to differences in the information that is relevant for the different attributes. When attributes differ greatly (such as colour and motion) it is obvious that they must rely on different information. However, separating the processing of different attributes could also allow highly related attributes to evolve independently, so that they end up being judged on the basis of different types of information. Here, we examine the case of egocentric and relative localisation. For judging egocentric positions, the orientation of the eyes has to be taken into account. This is not so for judging relative positions. We demonstrate that these two attributes can be processed separately by showing that simultaneous judgements of relative and egocentric position differ in their dependency on eye orientation. Subjects pursued a moving dot. We flashed either single targets, or pairs of targets with a 67 ms interval between them, directly below the subjects' gaze. As the eyes were moving during the 67 ms interval, the retinal separation between pairs of targets was different from their actual separation. Subjects indicated the position at which they saw the targets with reasonable reproducibility, with a consistent bias in the direction of the eye movement. However, when two targets were flashed, the indicated separation between them usually coincided with their retinal separation, rather than with their actual separation. We conclude that egocentric and relative spatial positions can be estimated separately and simultaneously, on the basis of different types of information. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.

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Vision Research
Department of Neuroscience

Brenner, E, & Cornelissen, F.W. (2000). Separate simultaneous processing of egocentric and relative positions. Vision Research, 40(19), 2557–2563. doi:10.1016/S0042-6989(00)00142-5