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Humans are able to judge whether a target is accelerating in many viewing contexts, but it is an open question how the motion pattern per se affects visual acceleration perception. We measured acceleration and deceleration detection using patterns of random dots with horizontal (simpler) or radial motion (more visually complex). The results suggest that we detect acceleration better when viewing radial optic flow than horizontal translation. However, the direction within each type of pattern has no effect on performance and observers detect acceleration and deceleration similarly within each condition. We conclude that sensitivity to the presence of acceleration is generally higher for more complex patterns, regardless of the direction within each type of pattern or the sign of acceleration.
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