Brain activity during time to contact estimation: an EEG study

  • Asieh Daneshi
  • Hamed Azarnoush
  • Farzad TowhidkhahEmail author
  • Delphine Bernardin
  • Jocelyn Faubert
Research Article


Understanding the neural mechanisms associated with time to contact (TTC) estimation is an intriguing but challenging task. Despite the importance of TTC estimation in our everyday life, few studies have been conducted on it, and there are still a lot of unanswered questions and unknown aspects of this issue. In this study, we intended to address one of these unknown aspects. We used independent component analysis to systematically assess EEG substrates associated with TTC estimation using two experiments: (1) transversal motion experiment (when a moving object passes transversally in the frontoparallel plane from side to side in front of the observer), and (2) head-on motion experiment (when the observer is on the motion path of the moving object). We also studied the energy of all EEG sources in these two experiments. The results showed that brain regions involved in the transversal and head-on motion experiments were the same. However, the energy used by some brain regions in the head-on motion experiment, including some regions in left parietotemporal and left frontal lobes, was significantly higher than the energy used by those regions in the transversal motion experiment. These brain regions are dominantly associated with different kinds of visual attention, integration of visual information, and responding to visual motion.


Time to contact Head-on motion Transversal motion EEG Source localization 



The authors are grateful to Golnaz Baghdadi for her comments in analyzing the data and revising the manuscript. We also would like to thank the professor Faubert’s research group at the University of Montreal, especially Jesse Michaels, Jean-Claude Piponnier, and Romain Chaumillon for their great support.

Authors’ contributions

AD, DB, and JF designed the experiment. AD undertook the data collection and analyzed the data under the FT’s supervision. AD, FT, and JF interpreted the results. AD drafted the manuscript. FT, JF, and HA revised the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biomedical Engineering DepartmentAmirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic)TehranIran
  2. 2.Faubert Laboratory, School of OptometryUniversity of MontrealMontrealCanada
  3. 3.Essilor Canada Ltd.MontrealCanada

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