A 3D Computer Simulation Test of the Leibowitz Hypothesis


Do large objects appear to approach more slowly than smaller objects traveling at the same speed? If so then this might help explain the inordinately high accident rates involving large vehicles such as buses and trains. To test this, this study constructed an experiment using a 3D visual simulator in which different sized textured spheres approached at different speeds. We found that observers consistently judged the smaller sphere to be the faster, even in cases where the larger sphere was traveling at up to twice the speed of the smaller. Analysis of these results suggests that the brain relies upon the perceived rate of change of an object’s visual angle, d"theta"/dt, to determine how quickly an object is approaching.

Publication date: 
April 1, 2007
Publication type: 
Conference Paper