The Coyote Illusion: Motion Blur Increases Apparent Speed

Alan Ho and Stuart Anstis
Ambrose University College, Canada, and UC San Diego, USA

Cartoonists are known to use multiple illustrative techniques to depict fast moving objects. In the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote Show, for example, cartoonists drew multiple numbers of feet, usually streaky and blurred inside distorted loops under the cartoon characters’ torsos to symbolize rapid motion. Our illusion demonstrates that the perceived speed of objects can go twice as fast as their actual speed when objects getting blur while that are revolving rapidly in circular paths. This finding supports the view that the human brain uses many strategies to estimate speed of moving objects in the environment.

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