Displacement detection is suppressed by the post-saccadic stimulus.
ABSTRACT: 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:Humans do not notice small displacements to objects that occur during saccades, termed saccadic suppression of displacement (SSD), and this effect is reduced when a blank is introduced between the pre- and postsaccadic stimulus (Bridgeman, Hendry, & Stark, 1975; Deubel, Schneider, & Bridgeman, 1996). While these effects have been studied extensively in adults, it is unclear how these phenomena are characterized in children. A potentially related mechanism, saccadic suppression of contrast sensitivity-a prerequisite to achieve a stable percept-is stronger for children (Bruno, Brambati, Perani, & Morrone, 2006). However, the evidence for how transsaccadic stimulus displacements may be suppressed or integrated is mixed. While they can integrate basic visual feature information from an early age, they cannot integrate multisensory information (Gori, Viva, Sandini, & Burr, 2008; Nardini, Jones, Bedford, & Braddick, 2008), suggesting a failure in the ability to integrate more complex sensory information. We tested children 7 to 12 years old and adults 19 to 23 years old on their ability to perceive intrasaccadic stimulus displacements, with and without a postsaccadic blank. Results showed that children had stronger SSD than adults and a larger blanking effect. Children also had larger undershoots and more variability in their initial saccade endpoints, indicating greater intrinsic uncertainty, and they were faster in executing corrective saccades to account for these errors. Together, these results suggest that children may have a greater internal expectation or prediction of saccade error than adults; thus, the stronger SSD in children may be due to higher intrinsic uncertainty in target localization or saccade execution.
Project description:Visual perception is introspectively stable and continuous across eye movements. It has been hypothesized that displacements in retinal input caused by eye movements can be dissociated from displacements in the external world using extra-retinal information, such as a corollary discharge from the oculomotor system. The extra-retinal information can inform the visual system about an upcoming eye movement and accompanying displacements in retinal input. The parietal cortex has been hypothesized to be critically involved in integrating retinal and extra-retinal information. Two tasks have been widely used to assess the quality of this integration: double-step saccades and intra-saccadic displacements. Double-step saccades performed by patients with parietal cortex lesions seemed to show hypometric second saccades. However, recently idea has been refuted by demonstrating that patients with very similar lesions were able to perform the double step saccades, albeit taking multiple saccades to reach the saccade target. So, it seems that extra-retinal information is still available for saccade execution after a lesion to the parietal lobe. Here, we investigated whether extra-retinal signals are also available for perceptual judgements in nine patients with strokes affecting the posterior parietal cortex. We assessed perceptual continuity with the intra-saccadic displacement task. We exploited the increased sensitivity when a small temporal blank is introduced after saccade offset (blank effect). The blank effect is thought to reflect the availability of extra-retinal signals for perceptual judgements. Although patients exhibited a relative difference to control subjects, they still demonstrated the blank effect. The data suggest that a lesion to the posterior parietal cortex (PPC) alters the processing of extra-retinal signals but does not abolish their influence altogether.
Project description:How are visual sensory representations that are acquired peripherally from a saccade target related to sensory representations generated foveally after the saccade? We tested the hypothesis that, when the two representations are perceived to belong to the same object, the post-saccadic value tends to overwrite the pre-saccadic value. Participants executed a saccade to a colored target object, which sometimes changed during the saccade by ±15°, 30°, or 45° in color space. They were post-cued to report either the pre-saccadic or post-saccadic color in a continuous report procedure. Substantial overwriting of the pre-saccadic color by the post-saccadic color was observed. Moreover, the introduction of a brief post-saccadic blank interval (which disrupted the perception of object correspondence) led to a substantial reduction in overwriting. The results provide the first direct evidence for an object-mediated overwriting mechanism across saccades, in which post-saccadic values automatically replace pre-saccadic values.
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:Although our eyes are in constant movement, we remain unaware of the high-speed stimulation produced by the retinal displacement. Vision is drastically reduced at the time of saccades. Here, I investigated whether the reduction of the unwanted disturbance could be established through a saccade-contingent habituation to intra-saccadic displacements. In more than 100 context trials, participants were exposed either to an intra-saccadic or to a post-saccadic disturbance or to no disturbance at all. After induction of a specific context, I measured peri-saccadic suppression. Displacement discrimination thresholds of observers were high after participants were exposed to an intra-saccadic disturbance. However, after exposure to a post-saccadic disturbance or a context without any intra-saccadic stimulation, displacement discrimination improved such that observers were able to see shifts as during fixation. Saccade-contingent habituation might explain why we do not perceive trans-saccadic retinal stimulation during saccades.
Project description:Saccadic eye movements are the result of neural decisions about where to move the eyes. These decisions are based on visual information accumulated before the saccade; however, during an approximately 100-ms interval immediately before the initiation of an eye movement, new visual information cannot influence the decision. Does the brain simply ignore information presented during this brief interval or is the information used for the subsequent saccade? Our study examines how and when the brain integrates visual information through time to drive saccades during visual search. We introduce a new technique, saccade-contingent reverse correlation, that measures the time course of visual information accrual driving the first and second saccades. Observers searched for a contrast-defined target among distractors. Independent contrast noise was added to the target and distractors every 25 ms. Only noise presented in the time interval in which the brain accumulates information will influence the saccadic decisions. Therefore, we can retrieve the time course of saccadic information accrual by averaging the time course of the noise, aligned to saccade initiation, across all trials with saccades to distractors. Results show that before the first saccade, visual information is being accumulated simultaneously for the first and second saccades. Furthermore, information presented immediately before the first saccade is not used in making the first saccadic decision but instead is stored and used by the neural processes driving the second saccade.
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:Previous studies have shown that face stimuli elicit extremely fast and involuntary saccadic responses toward them, relative to other categories of visual stimuli. In the present study, we further investigated to what extent face stimuli influence the programming and execution of saccades examining their amplitude. We performed two experiments using a saccadic choice task: two images (one with a face, one with a vehicle) were simultaneously displayed in the left and right visual fields of participants who had to initiate a saccade toward the image (Experiment 1) or toward a cross in the image (Experiment 2) containing a target stimulus (a face or a vehicle). Results revealed shorter saccades toward vehicle than face targets, even if participants were explicitly asked to perform their saccades toward a specific location (Experiment 2). Furthermore, error saccades had smaller amplitude than correct saccades. Further analyses showed that error saccades were interrupted in mid-flight to initiate a concurrently-programmed corrective saccade. Overall, these data suggest that the content of visual stimuli can influence the programming of saccade amplitude, and that efficient online correction of saccades can be performed during the saccadic choice task.
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: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.