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Bertamini, M, & Proffitt, D R. (2000). Hierarchical motion organization in random dot configurations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance. 26(4), 1371-1386.

Motion organization has 2 aspects: the extraction of a (moving) frame of reference and the hierarchical organization of moving elements within the reference frame. Using a discrimination of relative motions task, the authors found large differences between different types of motion (translation, divergence, and rotation) in the degree to which each can serve as a moving frame of reference. Translation and divergence are superior to rotation. There are, however, situations in which rotation can serve as a reference frame. This is due to the presence of a second factor, structural invariants (SIs). SIs are spatial relationships persisting among the elements within a configuration such as a collinearity among points or one point coinciding with the center of rotation for another (invariant radius). The combined effect of these 2 factors--motion type and SIs--influences perceptual motion organization.

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