Visual stability and the motion aftereffect: a psychophysical study revealing spatial updating.
ABSTRACT: Eye movements create an ever-changing image of the world on the retina. In particular, frequent saccades call for a compensatory mechanism to transform the changing visual information into a stable percept. To this end, the brain presumably uses internal copies of motor commands. Electrophysiological recordings of visual neurons in the primate lateral intraparietal cortex, the frontal eye fields, and the superior colliculus suggest that the receptive fields (RFs) of special neurons shift towards their post-saccadic positions before the onset of a saccade. However, the perceptual consequences of these shifts remain controversial. We wanted to test in humans whether a remapping of motion adaptation occurs in visual perception.The motion aftereffect (MAE) occurs after viewing of a moving stimulus as an apparent movement to the opposite direction. We designed a saccade paradigm suitable for revealing pre-saccadic remapping of the MAE. Indeed, a transfer of motion adaptation from pre-saccadic to post-saccadic position could be observed when subjects prepared saccades. In the remapping condition, the strength of the MAE was comparable to the effect measured in a control condition (33±7% vs. 27±4%). Contrary, after a saccade or without saccade planning, the MAE was weak or absent when adaptation and test stimulus were located at different retinal locations, i.e. the effect was clearly retinotopic. Regarding visual cognition, our study reveals for the first time predictive remapping of the MAE but no spatiotopic transfer across saccades. Since the cortical sites involved in motion adaptation in primates are most likely the primary visual cortex and the middle temporal area (MT/V5) corresponding to human MT, our results suggest that pre-saccadic remapping extends to these areas, which have been associated with strict retinotopy and therefore with classical RF organization. The pre-saccadic transfer of visual features demonstrated here may be a crucial determinant for a stable percept despite saccades.
Project description:Perception of a stable visual world despite eye motion requires integration of visual information across saccadic eye movements. To investigate how the visual system deals with localization of moving visual stimuli across saccades, we observed spatiotemporal changes of receptive fields (RFs) of motion-sensitive neurons across periods of saccades in the middle temporal (MT) and medial superior temporal (MST) areas. We found that the location of the RFs moved with shifts of eye position due to saccades, indicating that motion-sensitive neurons in both areas have retinotopic RFs across saccades. Different characteristic responses emerged when the moving visual stimulus was turned off before the saccades. For MT neurons, virtually no response was observed after the saccade, suggesting that the responses of these neurons simply reflect the reafferent visual information. In contrast, most MST neurons increased their firing rates when a saccade brought the location of the visual stimulus into their RFs, where the visual stimulus itself no longer existed. These findings suggest that the responses of such MST neurons after saccades were evoked by a memory of the stimulus that had preexisted in the postsaccadic RFs ("memory remapping"). A delayed-saccade paradigm further revealed that memory remapping in MST was linked to the saccade itself, rather than to a shift in attention. Thus, the visual motion information across saccades was integrated in spatiotopic coordinates and represented in the activity of MST neurons. This is likely to contribute to the perception of a stable visual world in the presence of eye movements.
Project description:After a saccade, most MST neurons respond to moving visual stimuli that had existed in their post-saccadic receptive fields and turned off before the saccade ("trans-saccadic memory remapping"). Neuronal responses in higher visual processing areas are known to be modulated in relation to gaze angle to represent image location in spatiotopic coordinates. In the present study, we investigated the eye position effects after saccades and found that the gaze angle modulated the visual sensitivity of MST neurons after saccades both to the actually existing visual stimuli and to the visual memory traces remapped by the saccades. We suggest that two mechanisms, trans-saccadic memory remapping and gaze modulation, work cooperatively in individual MST neurons to represent a continuous visual world.
Project description:Saccades are rapid eye movements that change the direction of gaze, although the full-field image motion associated with these movements is rarely perceived. The attenuation of visual perception during saccades is referred to as saccadic suppression. The mechanisms that produce saccadic suppression are not well understood. We recorded from neurons in the dorsal medial superior temporal area (MSTd) of alert macaque monkeys and compared the neural responses produced by the retinal slip associated with saccades (active motion) to responses evoked by identical motion presented during fixation (passive motion). We provide evidence for a neural correlate of saccadic suppression and expand on two contentious results from previous studies. First, we confirm the finding that some neurons in MSTd reverse their preferred direction during saccades. We quantify this effect by calculating changes in direction tuning index for a large cell population. Second, it has been noted that neural activity associated with saccades can arrive in the parietal cortex <or=30 ms earlier than activity produced by similar visual stimulation during fixation. This led to the question of whether the saccade-related responses were visual in origin or were motor signals arising from saccade-planning areas of the brain. By comparing the responses to saccades made over textured backgrounds of different contrasts, we provide strong evidence that saccade-related responses were visual in origin. Refinements of the possible models of saccadic suppression are discussed.
Project description:It is commonly believed that vision is impaired during saccadic eye movements. However, here we report that some visual stimuli are clearly visible during saccades, and trigger a constriction of the eye's pupil. Participants viewed sinusoid gratings that changed polarity 150 times per second (every 6.67 ms). At this rate of flicker, the gratings were perceived as homogeneous surfaces while participants fixated. However, the flickering gratings contained ambiguous motion: rightward and leftward motion for vertical gratings; upward and downward motion for horizontal gratings. When participants made a saccade perpendicular to the gratings' orientation (e.g., a leftward saccade for a vertical grating), the eye's peak velocity matched the gratings' motion. As a result, the retinal image was approximately stable for a brief moment during the saccade, and this gave rise to an intrasaccadic percept: A normally invisible stimulus became visible when eye velocity was maximal. Our results confirm and extend previous studies by demonstrating intrasaccadic perception using a reflexive measure (pupillometry) that does not rely on subjective report. Our results further show that intrasaccadic perception affects all stages of visual processing, from the pupillary response to visual awareness.
Project description:Saccadic adaptation is the motor learning process that keeps saccade amplitudes on target. This process is eye position specific: amplitude adaptation that is induced for a saccade at one particular location in the visual field transfers incompletely to saccades at other locations. In our current study, we investigated wether this eye position signal corresponds to the initial or to the final eye position of the saccade. Each case would have different implications on the mechanisms of adaptation. The initial eye position is not directly available, when the adaptation driving post saccadic error signal is received. On the other hand the final eye position signal is not available, when the motor command for the saccade is calculated. In six human subjects we adapted a saccade of 15 degree amplitude that started at a constant position. We then measured the transfer of adaptation to test saccades of 10 and 20 degree amplitude. In each case we compared test saccades that matched the start position of the adapted saccade to those that matched the target of the adapted saccade. We found significantly more transfer of adaptation to test saccades with the same start position than to test saccades with the same target position. The results indicate that saccadic adaptation is specific to the initial eye position. This is consistent with a previously proposed effect of gain field modulated input from areas like the frontal eye field, the lateral intraparietal area and the superior colliculus into the cerebellar adaptation circuitry.
Project description:Across saccades, small displacements of a visual target are harder to detect and their directions more difficult to discriminate than during steady fixation. Prominent theories of this effect, known as saccadic suppression of displacement, propose that it is due to a bias to assume object stability across saccades. Recent studies comparing the saccadic effect to masking effects suggest that suppression of displacement is not saccade-specific. Further evidence for this account is presented from two experiments where participants judged the size of displacements on a continuous scale in saccade and mask conditions, with and without blanking. Saccades and masks both reduced the proportion of correctly perceived displacements and increased the proportion of missed displacements. Blanking improved performance in both conditions by reducing the proportion of missed displacements. Thus, if suppression of displacement reflects a bias for stability, it is not a saccade-specific bias, but a more general stability assumption revealed under conditions of impoverished vision. Specifically, I discuss the potentially decisive role of motion or other transient signals for displacement perception. Without transients or motion, the quality of relative position signals is poor, and saccadic and mask-induced suppression of displacement reflects performance when the decision has to be made on these signals alone. Blanking may improve those position signals by providing a transient onset or a longer time to encode the pre-saccadic target position.
Project description:The input to our visual system shifts every time we move our eyes. To maintain a stable percept of the world, visual representations must be updated with each saccade. Near the time of a saccade, neurons in several visual areas become sensitive to the regions of visual space that their receptive fields occupy after the saccade. This process, known as remapping, transfers information from one set of neurons to another, and may provide a mechanism for visual stability. However, it is not clear whether remapping transfers information about stimulus features in addition to information about stimulus location. To investigate this issue, we recorded blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) responses while human subjects viewed images of faces and houses (two visual categories with many feature differences). Immediately after some image presentations, subjects made a saccade that moved the previously stimulated location to the opposite side of the visual field. We then used a combination of univariate analyses and multivariate pattern analyses to test whether information about stimulus location and stimulus features were remapped to the ipsilateral hemisphere after the saccades. We found no reliable indication of stimulus feature remapping in any region. However, we also found no reliable indication of stimulus location remapping, despite the fact that our paradigm was highly similar to previous fMRI studies of remapping. The absence of location remapping in our study precludes strong conclusions regarding feature remapping. However, these results also suggest that measurement of location remapping with fMRI depends strongly on the details of the experimental paradigm used. We highlight differences in our approach from the original fMRI studies of remapping, discuss potential reasons for the failure to generalize prior location remapping results, and suggest directions for future research.
Project description:While making saccadic eye-movements to scan a visual scene, humans and monkeys are able to keep track of relevant visual stimuli by maintaining spatial attention on them. This ability requires a shift of attentional modulation from the neuronal population representing the relevant stimulus pre-saccadically to the one representing it post-saccadically. For optimal performance, this trans-saccadic attention shift should be rapid and saccade-synchronized. Whether this is so is not known. We trained two rhesus monkeys to make saccades while maintaining covert attention at a fixed spatial location. We show that the trans-saccadic attention shift in cortical visual medial temporal (MT) area is well synchronized to saccades. Attentional modulation crosses over from the pre-saccadic to the post-saccadic neuronal representation by about 50?ms after a saccade. Taking response latency into account, the trans-saccadic attention shift is well timed to maintain spatial attention on relevant stimuli, so that they can be optimally tracked and processed across saccades.
Project description:To establish a perceptually stable world despite the large retinal shifts caused by saccadic eye movements, the visual system reduces its sensitivity to the displacement of visual stimuli during saccades (e.g. saccadic suppression of displacement, SSD). Previous studies have demonstrated that inserting a temporal blank right after a saccade improves displacement detection performance. This 'blanking effect' suggests that visual information right after the saccade may play an important role in SSD. To understand the mechanisms underlying SSD, we here compare the effect of pre- and post-saccadic stimulus contrast on displacement detection during a saccade with and without inserting a blank. Our results show that observers' sensitivity to detect visual displacement was reduced by increasing post-saccadic stimulus contrast, but a blank relieves the impairment. We successfully explain the results with a model proposing that parvo-pathway signals suppress the magno-pathway processes responsible for detecting displacements across saccades. Our results suggest that the suppression of the magno-pathway by parvo-pathway signals immediately after a saccade causes SSD, which helps to achieve the perceptual stability of the visual world across saccades.
Project description:Whenever we move our eyes, some visual information obtained before a saccade is combined with the visual information obtained after a saccade. Interestingly, saccades rarely land exactly on the saccade target, which may pose a problem for transsaccadic perception as it could affect the quality of postsaccadic input. Recently, however, we showed that transsaccadic feature integration is actually unaffected by deviations of saccade landing points. Possibly, transsaccadic integration remains unaffected because the presaccadic shift of attention follows the intended saccade target and not the actual saccade landing point during regular saccades. Here, we investigated whether saccade landing point errors can in fact alter transsaccadic perception when the presaccadic shift of attention follows the saccade landing point deviation. Given that saccadic adaptation not only changes the saccade vector, but also the presaccadic shift of attention, we combined a feature report paradigm with saccadic adaptation. Observers reported the color of the saccade target, which occasionally changed slightly during a saccade to the target. This task was performed before and after saccadic adaptation. The results showed that, after adaptation, presaccadic color information became less precise and transsaccadic perception had a stronger reliance on the postsaccadic color estimate. Therefore, although previous studies have shown that transsaccadic perception is generally unaffected by saccade landing point deviations, our results reveal that this cannot be considered a general property of the visual system. When presaccadic shifts of attention follow altered saccade landing points, transsaccadic perception is affected, suggesting that transsaccadic feature perception might be dependent on visual spatial attention.