Cognitive influences on fixational eye movements.

TitleCognitive influences on fixational eye movements.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsLin Y-C, Intoy J, Clark AM, Rucci M, Victor JD
JournalCurr Biol
Date Published2023 Mar 28

We perceive the world based on visual information acquired via oculomotor control,1 an activity intertwined with ongoing cognitive processes.2,3,4 Cognitive influences have been primarily studied in the context of macroscopic movements, like saccades and smooth pursuits. However, our eyes are never still, even during periods of fixation. One of the fixational eye movements, ocular drifts, shifts the stimulus over hundreds of receptors on the retina, a motion that has been argued to enhance the processing of spatial detail by translating spatial into temporal information.5 Despite their apparent randomness, ocular drifts are under neural control.6,7,8 However little is known about the control of drift beyond the brainstem circuitry of the vestibulo-ocular reflex.9,10 Here, we investigated the cognitive control of ocular drifts with a letter discrimination task. The experiment was designed to reveal open-loop effects, i.e., cognitive oculomotor control driven by specific prior knowledge of the task, independent of incoming sensory information. Open-loop influences were isolated by randomly presenting pure noise fields (no letters) while subjects engaged in discriminating specific letter pairs. Our results show open-loop control of drift direction in human observers.

Alternate JournalCurr Biol
PubMed ID37015221