The knocking-over-coffee-mug example demonstrates a simple, yet profound consequence of not being able to accurately perceive 3D structures of objects that we interact with. However, this is what research has been shown in the past decades (e.g. Todd, Oomes, Koenderink, & Kappers, 2001). This finding is definitely counterintuitive and does not conform to our daily experiences. So why is this the case?
My research reveals one fundamental aspect of human experience that previous research has overlooked - the fact that we are constantly moving. The result of being constantly in the move is that we get to see the same object from various different perspectives. We proposed that changes in viewing perspectives, with as little as 45° through relative motion enables the observer to bootstrap accurate 3D structures.
We initially examined this issue using random dot anaglyphs, which allows us to control the effects of different types of visual information, namely monocular structure-from-motion and stereomotion. Check out the animations below for demos. Wear a pair of red-blue filter glasses if you have one lying around!
The Combined Condition
Both monocular structure-from-motion and stereomotion information is available.
The Monocular Condition
Only monocular structure-from-motion information is available.
The Stereomotion Condition
Only stereomotion information is available. This is the most interesting visual condition, because without a pair
of red-blue filter glasses all you can see is a field of
noisy random dots. However, with a pair of proper glasses, the red dots will only to go
your left eye, whereas the blue dots will only go to your right eye. We will be able to
fuse them and the evolving distance between them (i.e. disparity) will provide you information about depth, which allows
you to see a rotating 3D object like the ones shown above.
Recently, I developed another set of experiments in virtual reality that aims to examine the same issue, only this time participants are able to move freely in the environment.
Wang, X.M., Lind, M., & Bingham, G.P. (2020). A stratified process for the perception of objects: From optical transformations to 3D relief structure to 3D Euclidean structure to slant or aspect ratio. Vision Research, 173, 77-89.
Wang, X.M., Lind, M., & Bingham, G.P. (2019b). Bootstrapping a better slant: A stratified process for recovering 3D metric slant. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 82, 1504–1519.
Wang, X.M., Lind, M. & Bingham, G.P. (2019a). Symmetry mediates the bootstrapping of 3-D relief slant to metric slant. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 82, 1488–1503.
Wang, X.M., Lind, M., & Bingham, G. P. (2018). Large continuous perspective change with non-coplanar points enables accurate slant perception. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 44(10), 1508-1522.