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Insufficient compensation for self-motion during perception of object speed: The vestibular Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon
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To estimate object speed with respect to the self, retinal signals must be summed with extraretinal signals that encode the speed of eye and head movement. Prior work has shown that differences in perceptual estimates of object speed based on retinal and oculomotor signals lead to biased percepts such as the Aubert-Fleischl phenomenon (AF), in which moving targets appear slower when pursued. During whole-body movement, additional extraretinal signals, such as those from the vestibular system, may be used to transform object speed estimates from a head-centered to a world-centered reference frame. Here we demonstrate that whole-body pursuit in the form of passive yaw rotation, which stimulates the semicircular canals of the vestibular system, leads to a slowing of perceived object speed similar to the classic oculomotor AF. We find that the magnitude of the vestibular and oculomotor AF is comparable across a range of speeds, despite the different types of input signal involved. This covariation might hint at a common modality-independent mechanism underlying the AF in both cases.