Perceptual compression of visual space during eye – head gaze shifts

  • Richard A
  • Guitton D
  • Pack C
  • 33


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In primates, inspection of a visual scene is typically interrupted by frequent gaze shifts, occurring at an average rate of three to five times per second. Perceptually, these gaze shifts are accompanied by a compression of visual space toward the saccade target, which may be attributed to an oculomotor signal that transiently influences visual processing. While previous studies of compression have focused exclusively on saccadic eye movements made with the head artificially immobilized, many brain structures involved in saccade generation also encode combined eye-head gaze shifts. Thus, in order to understand the interaction between gaze motor and visual signals, we studied perception during eye-head gaze shifts and found a powerful compression of visual space that was spatially directed toward the intended gaze (and not the eye movement) target location. This perceptual compression was nearly constant in duration across gaze shift amplitudes, suggesting that the signal that triggers compression is largely independent of the size and kinematics of the gaze shift. The spatial pattern of results could be captured by a model that involves interactions, on a logarithmic map of visual space, between two loci of neural activity that encode the gaze shift vector and visual stimulus position relative to the fovea.

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  • eye movements
  • guitton
  • head gaze shifts
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  • perceptual compression visual
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  • Alby Richard

  • Daniel E Guitton

  • Christopher C Pack

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