The role of static scene information on locomotion distance estimation

Huiting Zhang, Kan Zhang, Ranxiao Frances Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Judgement of travelled distance is important for many spatial learning and navigation tasks, including path integration. Research on visual information for locomotion distance estimation has traditionally focused on the effect of motion cues. However, static visual information is also generally available during real world navigation. This study investigated the contribution of static visual information on the estimation of travelled distance using a static-frame paradigm. Participants viewed successive static snapshots of simulated self-locomotion along a tunnel containing either random texture or geometric shapes, and then reproduced the travelled distance in a different environment. The results showed that when the motion information was removed, the use of actual distance information was eliminated in the texture condition but remained when perceptual landmarks were present, suggesting that static scene information from identifiable objects can support locomotion distance judgements. Moreover, travel duration was also used in conjunction with the spatial information. These findings suggest that studies involving locomotion distance estimation need to consider the potential contributions of the static scene mechanism and the temporal information in addition to the motion-based mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-83
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cognitive Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2013


  • Distance estimation
  • Locomotion
  • Optic flow
  • Path integration
  • Static scene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology


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