Temporal evolution of 2-dimensional direction signals used to guide eye movements

Richard T. Born, Christopher C. Pack, Carlos R. Ponce, Si Yi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Scopus citations


The smooth pursuit system must integrate many local motion measurements into a coherent estimate of target velocity. Several laboratories have studied this integration process using eye movements elicited by targets, such as tilted bars, containing conflicts between local motion signals measured along contours [one dimensional (1D)] and those measured at the bar's endpoints, or terminators [two dimensional (2D)]. The general finding is that 1D signals dominate early responses, whereas later components of the behavior are determined by 2D signals. We studied the dynamics of the integration process in macaque monkeys by systematically varying the relative proportions of 1D and 2D signals and the retinal eccentricities at which they appeared. Predictably, longer bars produced greater and longer-lasting contour-induced deviations. The evolution of the 2D response occurred over a period of 50-400 ms, depending on the relative proportions of 1D and 2D signals. As contours were displaced from the fovea the deviation decreased but much less so for early (1st 40 ms) than for late (subsequent 40 ms) pursuit initiation. These bottom-up effects could be overcome to a limited extent by the top-down influence of predictability. Finally, we observed that when animals were free to track any part of the bar, they spontaneously made short-latency saccades to the terminators on most trials, especially when the bars were tilted. This suggests an increased saliency of moving terminators, particularly when discrepancies exist among local motion signals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-300
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of neurophysiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

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