The fundamental question in motion perception is whether motion is an interpretation imposed on an object or feature perceived at separate positions at sequential instants, or whether it is the response of direction-sensitive detectors that can extract the motion-energy in the stimulus, i.e. the orientation of spatio-temporal energy. To answer this question we constructed stimuli whose position changed in one direction while the motion energy contained in the same spatial frequency moved in the same or the opposite direction (by superimposing moving sinusoidal gratings on stationary gratings of the same spatial frequency and orientation). In every case tested (0.25-25 Hz temporal frequency; 0.25-1.0 cyc/deg spatial frequency; achromatic and equiluminant contrast), the perceived direction of motion was in the direction of motion energy, indicating the existence of neurons which compute motion direction without explicitly computing spatial position. The measurements also confirmed that motion-energy computations can be modeled as separable in spatial and temporal frequency. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.
Zaidi, Q., & Jeremy Debonet, S. (2000). Motion energy versus position tracking: Spatial, temporal, and chromatic parameters. Vision Research, 40(26), 3613–3635. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0042-6989(00)00201-7