Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Efficient Self-Rotation Perception

Version 1 : Received: 5 February 2020 / Approved: 6 February 2020 / Online: 6 February 2020 (03:08:56 CET)

How to cite: Duggins, A. Efficient Self-Rotation Perception. Preprints 2020, 2020020077. Duggins, A. Efficient Self-Rotation Perception. Preprints 2020, 2020020077.


An event occurring within a stationary environment, in the direction toward which an observer self-rotates, is perceived to precede a simultaneous event, in the direction away from which she moves. When self-rotation results from angular acceleration in the dark, perception of space is also distorted, such that the subjective straight-ahead shifts in the opposite direction to motion and temporal event promotion. A reference frameshift theory, based on the special theory of relativity, is proposed to explain these findings. Here, a hyperbolic tangent transformation of objective angular velocity constrains subjective self-rotation velocity within finite bounds, consistent with it being a limited perceptual resource. Identifying this subjective variable with vestibular nystagmus slow-phase angular velocity, the asymptotic perceived self-rotation velocity is estimated at ~200 °⁄s. When included in the Lorentz transformations of the new formalism, this value predicts experimental simultaneity distortion. Hypothetically, the hyperbolic tangent objective-to-subjective transfer function would maximize the differential entropy of the percept, and thereby also the stimulus/percept mutual information, if angular velocities of body rotation encountered in naturalistic environmental interaction have a logistic probability density distribution of scale 100 °⁄s, a proposed experimental test of the scheme.


special relativity; efficient coding hypothesis; temporal order judgement; circular vection; vestibulo-ocular reflex; time perception; Lorentz transformation; accelerated reference frame; equivalence principle; optimization of perception


Biology and Life Sciences, Biophysics

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