Consequences of the Oculomotor Cycle for the Dynamics of Perception.

TitleConsequences of the Oculomotor Cycle for the Dynamics of Perception.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2017
AuthorsBoi M, Poletti M, Victor JD, Rucci M
JournalCurr Biol
Date Published2017 May 08

Much evidence indicates that humans and other species process large-scale visual information before fine spatial detail. Neurophysiological data obtained with paralyzed eyes suggest that this coarse-to-fine sequence results from spatiotemporal filtering by neurons in the early visual pathway. However, the eyes are normally never stationary: rapid gaze shifts (saccades) incessantly alternate with slow fixational movements. To investigate the consequences of this oculomotor cycle on the dynamics of perception, we combined spectral analysis of visual input signals, neural modeling, and gaze-contingent control of retinal stimulation in humans. We show that the saccade/fixation cycle reformats the flow impinging on the retina in a way that initiates coarse-to-fine processing at each fixation. This finding reveals that the visual system uses oculomotor-induced temporal modulations to sequentially encode different spatial components and suggests that, rather than initiating coarse-to-fine processing, spatiotemporal coupling in the early visual pathway builds on the information dynamics of the oculomotor cycle.

Alternate JournalCurr. Biol.
PubMed ID28434862
Grant ListR01 EY007977 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States