Forward optic flow is prioritised in visual awareness independently of walking direction

Paweł Motyka, Mert Akbal, Piotr Litwin
2021 PLoS ONE  
When two different images are presented separately to each eye, one experiences smooth transitions between them-a phenomenon called binocular rivalry. Previous studies have shown that exposure to signals from other senses can enhance the access of stimulation-congruent images to conscious perception. However, despite our ability to infer perceptual consequences from bodily movements, evidence that action can have an analogous influence on visual awareness is scarce and mainly limited to hand
more » ... ements. Here, we investigated whether one's direction of locomotion affects perceptual access to optic flow patterns during binocular rivalry. Participants walked forwards and backwards on a treadmill while viewing highly-realistic visualisations of self-motion in a virtual environment. We hypothesised that visualisations congruent with walking direction would predominate in visual awareness over incongruent ones, and that this effect would increase with the precision of one's active proprioception. These predictions were not confirmed: optic flow consistent with forward locomotion was prioritised in visual awareness independently of walking direction and proprioceptive abilities. Our findings suggest the limited role of kinaesthetic-proprioceptive information in disambiguating visually perceived direction of self-motion and indicate that vision might be tuned to the (expanding) optic flow patterns prevalent in everyday life.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0250905 pmid:33945563 pmcid:PMC8096117 fatcat:n7r3snfxmjg7hgkenmb73ymkka