The recovery of target locations in space across movements of eyes and head

Abstract : The visual system has evolved to deal with the consequences of our own movements onour perception. In particular, evolution has given us the ability to perceive our visual world as stableand continuous despite large shift of the image on our retinas when we move our eyes, head orbody. Animal studies have recently shown that in some cortical and sub-cortical areas involved inattention and saccade control, neurons are able to anticipate the consequences of voluntary eyemovements on their visual input. These neurons predict how the world will look like after a saccadeby remapping the location of each attended object to the place it will occupy following a saccade.In a series of studies, we first showed that remapping could be evaluated in a non-invasive fashion in human with simple apparent motion targets. Using eye movement recordingsand psychophysical methods, we evaluated the distribution of remapping errors across the visualfield and found that saccade compensation was fairly accurate. The pattern of errors observedsupport a model of space constancy based on a remapping of attention pointers and excluded otherknown models. Then using targets that moved continuously while a saccade was made across themotion path, we were able to directly visualize the remapping processes. With this novel method wedemonstrated again the existence of systematic errors of correction for the saccade, best explainedby an inaccurate remapping of expected moving target locations. We then extended our model toother body movements, and studied the contribution of sub-cortical receptors (otoliths and semi-circular canals) in the maintenance of space constancy across head movements. Contrary tostudies reporting almost perfect compensations for head movements, we observed breakdowns ofspace constancy for head tilt as well as for head translation. Then, we tested remapping of targetlocations to correct for saccades at the very edge of the visual field, remapping that would place theexpected target location outside the visual field. Our results suggest that visual areas involved inremapping construct a global representation of space extending out beyond the traditional visualfield. Finally, we conducted experiments to determine the allocation of attention across saccades.We demonstrated that the attention captured by a brief transient was remapped to the correctspatial location after the eye movement and that this shift can be observed even before thesaccade.Taken together these results demonstrate the management of attention pointers to therecovery of target locations in space as well as the ability of behavioral measurements to address atopic pioneered by eletrophysiologists.
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Martin Szinte. The recovery of target locations in space across movements of eyes and head. Psychology. Université René Descartes - Paris V, 2012. English. ⟨NNT : 2012PA05H105⟩. ⟨tel-00760375⟩

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