It has been demonstrated that basic aspects of human visual motion perception are qualitatively consistent with a Bayesian estimation framework, where the prior probability distribution on velocity favors slow speeds. Here, we present a refined probabilistic model that can account for the typical trial-to-trial variabilities observed in psychophysical speed perception experiments. We also show that data from such experiments can be used to constrain both the likelihood and prior functions of the model. Specifically, we measured matching speeds and thresholds in a two-alternative forced choice speed discrimination task. Parametric fits to the data reveal that the likelihood function is well approximated by a LogNormal distribution with a characteristic contrast-dependent variance, and that the prior distribution on velocity exhibits significantly heavier tails than a Gaussian.
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