Cats Perceive Biological Motion

  title={Cats Perceive Biological Motion},
  author={Randolph Blake},
  journal={Psychological Science},
  pages={54 - 57}
  • R. Blake
  • Published 1 January 1993
  • Biology, Psychology
  • Psychological Science
With behavioral techniques, cats were trained to discriminate a point-light animation sequence depicting biological motion (i.e., a cat walking) from an animation sequence consisting of equivalent local motion vectors lacking the global synchrony present in the biological-motion sequence (i.e., “foil” displays). Successful discrimination was evidenced for even the most difficult foil display and for different versions of the biological-motion sequence, indicating that cats are able to extract… 

Figures from this paper

Visually Inexperienced Chicks Exhibit Spontaneous Preference for Biological Motion Patterns
It is reported that newly hatched chicks, reared and hatched in darkness, at their first exposure to point-light animation sequences, exhibit a spontaneous preference to approach biological motion patterns, and this predisposition extends to the pattern of motion of other vertebrates, even to that of a potential predator such as a cat.
Perception of Biological Motion
Boundary conditions for perception of biological motion were explored with the use of computer-generated point-light animation sequences. Perception of this unique form of structure from motion is
Contributions of form, motion and task to biological motion perception.
The results show that form information appears to play a critical role in biological motion processing and this information is supported, not replaced, by the integrative motion signals conveyed by the relationships between the dots of the PLW.
Temporal properties in masking biological motion
Investigation of point light animation techniques showed that perception of biological motion was sensitive to even small temporal perturbation within the walker, and the effectiveness of a mask depended upon the temporal phase difference between the mask and point light walker.
Do rats (Rattus norvegicus) perceive biological motion?
Using a water-maze visual discrimination task, it is found that rats can be trained to distinguish between left- and rightward motion of abstract point-light displays of walking humans, but rats were unable to generalize to a novel point- light display, or to a display of a backward walking human.
Interactions between form and motion cues in the visual perception of biological motion
The results presented here illustrate that the direction of translation of masks constructed of both biological motion trajectories and non-biological linear trajectories, like those used by Edwards and Badcock (1995), influence the ability to detect translating biological form-from-motion.
Local Dot Motion, Not Global Configuration, Determines Dogs’ Preference for Point-Light Displays
The results of the current study imply that dogs’ visual preference is driven by the motion of individual dots in accordance with gravity, rather than the point-light display’s global arrangement, regardless their long exposure to human motion.
Structural processing in biological motion perception.
The present findings provide direct psychophysical evidence that motion information is insufficient and structural information is necessary for the identification of walking direction in biological movement and imply that computational models must utilize a structural representation of the human body to account for perception of biological movements.
Pigeons (Columba livia) fail to connect dots in learning biological motion
The results indicate that the pigeons failed to make the connection between the full-detail displays and their point-light counterparts even when the common motion was available as a cue.


The perception of biological motion by human infants.
The results of this experiment demonstrate that infants 4 to 6 months of age exhibit a preference for biological motion patterns, and support the hypothesis that this perception of biological motion is an intrinsic capacity of the visual system.
Visual perception of biological motion and a model for its analysis
The kinetic-geometric model for visual vector analysis originally developed in the study of perception of motion combinations of the mechanical type was applied to biological motion patterns and the results turned out to be highly positive.
Infant sensitivity to figural coherence in biomechanical motions.
A program to generate synthetic walkers as dynamic point-light displays
Using a technique that began with the work of Marey (1895/1972), Johansson (1973, 1975, 1976) has begun to explore the underlying stimulus structure of biological motion. One version of the technique
The Interpretation of Visual Motion
This book uses the methodology of artificial intelligence to investigate the phenomena of visual motion perception: how the visual system constructs descriptions of the environment in terms of
Movement discrimination capacities in the cat.
The results of the generalization tests are consistent with the physiological properties of neurons found to be sensitive to movement in the cat visual system and lend support to the view that resolution and slow movement thresholds are correlated.
Pattern and motion vision in cats with selective loss of cortical directional selectivity
  • T. Pasternak, L. Leinen
  • Biology, Psychology
    The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience
  • 1986
Strobe-reared cats showed normal orientation discrimination and temporal frequency resolution, nearly normal contrast sensitivity at low spatial frequencies, and a slight reduction of sensitivity to high spatialfrequency, while normal cats showed nearly identical contrast sensitivity for detecting and discriminating gratings of high spatial frequency at high temporal frequency (drift rates).
Upside-down Presentation of the Johansson Moving Light-Spot Pattern
In a film produced by Johansson, a group of moving spots, corresponding to lights attached to the main joints of a walker or a runner, gives instantly a vivid impression of a person walking or