There have been numerous experimental studies on human perception and misperception of self-motion and orientation relative to the earth, each focusing on one or a few types of motion. We present a formal framework encompassing many types of motion and including all angular and linear components of velocity and acceleration. Using a mathematically rigorous presentation, the framework defines the space of all possible motions, the map from motion to sensor status, the space containing each possible status of the sensors, and the map from sensor status to perceived motion. The shape of the full perceptual map from actual motion to perceived motion is investigated with the framework, using formal theory and a number of published experimental results. Two principles of simple motion perception and four principles of complex motion perception are presented. The framework also distinguishes the roles of physics and the nervous system in the process of self-motion perception for both simple and complex motions.
The present rigorous development of the self-motion perception framework allows the scientist to compare and contrast results from many studies with differing types of motion. The six principles formalized here comprise a foundation with which to explain and predict perceptual phenomena, both those observed in the past and those to be encountered in the future. The framework is especially aimed to expand our capacity to investigate complex motions such as those encountered in everyday life or in unusual motion environments.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/gin_mccollum/12/