David Aagten-Murphy; Paul M Bays
Automatic and intentional influences on saccade landing Journal Article
In: Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 118, no. 2, pp. 1105–1122, 2017.
When making an eye movement to a target location, the presence of a nearby distractor can cause the saccade to unintentionally terminate at the distractor itself or the average position in between stimuli. With probabilistic mixture models, we quantified how both unavoidable capture and goal-directed targeting were influenced by changing the task and the target-distractor separation. Using this novel technique, we could extract the time course over which automatic and intentional processes compete for control of saccades.
Bahman Abdi Sargezeh; Niloofar Tavakoli; Mohammad Reza Daliri
In: Physiology and Behavior, vol. 206, pp. 43–50, 2019.
Male and female brains have different structures, which can make genders produce various eye- movement patterns. This study presents the results of an eye tracking experiment in which we analyzed the eye movements of 25 male and 20 female participants during passive indoor picture viewing. We examined eye-movement parameters, namely fixation duration, scan path length, number of saccades, spatial density, saccade amplitude, and the ratio of total fixation duration to total saccade duration so as to investigate gender differences in eye-movement patterns while indoor picture viewing. We found significant differences in eye-movement patterns between genders. The results of eye-movement analysis also indicated that females showed more explorative gaze behavior, indicated by larger saccade amplitudes, and by longer scan paths. Furthermore, owing to shorter ratio of fixation durations to saccade duration in females as compared to male, we speculate that females inspect the images faster than males. In addition, we classified the genders into two subgroups—males and females—based on their eye-movement parameters by using a support vector machine classifier achieving an accuracy of 70%. We have come to the result males and females – with same culture – see the environment differently. Our findings have profound implications for researches employing gaze-based models.
Mathias Abegg; Dario Pianezzi; Jason J S Barton
A vertical asymmetry in saccades Journal Article
In: Journal of Eye Movement Research, vol. 8, no. 5, pp. 1–10, 2015.
Visual exploration of natural scenes imposes demands that differ between the upper and the lower visual hemifield. Yet little is known about how ocular motor performance is affected by the location of visual stimuli or the direction of a behavioural response. We compared saccadic latencies between upper and lower hemifield in a variety of conditions, including short-latency prosaccades, long-latency prosaccades, antisaccades, memory-guided saccades and saccades with increased attentional and selection demand. All saccade types, except memory guided saccades, had shorter latencies when saccades were directed towards the upper field as compared to downward saccades (ptextless0.05). This upper field reaction time advantage probably arises in ocular motor rather than visual processing. It may originate in structures involved in motor preparation rather than execution.
Larry Allen Abel; Zhong I Wang; Louis F Dell'Osso
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 49, no. 8, pp. 3413–3423, 2008.
PURPOSE: To investigate the proper usage of wavelet analysis in infantile nystagmus syndrome (INS) and determine its limitations and abilities. METHODS: Data were analyzed from accurate eye-movement recordings of INS patients. Wavelet analysis was performed to examine the foveation characteristics, morphologic characteristics and time variation in different INS waveforms. Also compared were the wavelet analysis and the expanded nystagmus acuity function (NAFX) analysis on sections of pre- and post-tenotomy data. RESULTS: Wavelet spectra showed some sensitivity to different features of INS waveforms and reflected their variations across time. However, wavelet analysis was not effective in detecting foveation periods, especially in a complicated INS waveform. NAFX, on the other hand, was a much more direct way of evaluating waveform changes after nystagmus treatments. CONCLUSIONS: Wavelet analysis is a tool that performs, with difficulty, some things that can be done faster and better by directly operating on the nystagmus waveform itself. It appears, however, to be insensitive to the subtle but visually important improvements brought about by INS therapies. Wavelet analysis may have a role in developing automated waveform classifiers where its time-dependent characterization of the waveform can be used. The limitations of wavelet analysis outweighed its abilities in INS waveform-characteristic examination.
Dekel Abeles; Roy Amit; Noam Tal-Perry; Marisa Carrasco; Shlomit Yuval-Greenberg
In: Nature Communications, vol. 11, pp. 1–12, 2020.
Eye movements are inhibited prior to the onset of temporally-predictable visual targets. This oculomotor inhibition effect could be considered a marker for the formation of temporal expectations and the allocation of temporal attention in the visual domain. Here we show that eye movements are also inhibited before predictable auditory targets. In two experiments, we manipulate the period between a cue and an auditory target to be either predictable or unpredictable. The findings show that although there is no perceptual gain from avoiding gaze-shifts in this procedure, saccades and blinks are inhibited prior to predictable relative to unpredictable auditory targets. These findings show that oculomotor inhibition occurs prior to auditory targets. This link between auditory expectation and oculomotor behavior reveals a multimodal perception action coupling, which has a central role in temporal expectations.
Rany Abend; Mira A Bajaj; Chika Matsumoto; Marissa Yetter; Anita Harrewijn; Elise M Cardinale; Katharina Kircanski; Eli R Lebowitz; Wendy K Silverman; Yair Bar-Haim; Amit Lazarov; Ellen Leibenluft; Melissa Brotman; Daniel S Pine
In: Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, pp. 1–14, 2020.
This report examines the relationship between pediatric anxiety disorders and implicit bias evoked by threats. To do so, the report uses two tasks that assess implicit bias to negative-valence faces, the first by eye-gaze and the second by measuring body-movement parameters. The report contrasts task performance in 51 treatment-seeking, medication-free pediatric patients with anxiety disorders and 36 healthy peers. Among these youth, 53 completed an eye-gaze task, 74 completed a body-movement task, and 40 completed both tasks. On the eye-gaze task, patients displayed longer gaze duration on negative relative to non-negative valence faces than healthy peers, F(1, 174) = 8.27
Irene Ablinger; Walter Huber; Kerstin I Schattka; Ralph Radach
In: Neurocase, vol. 19, no. 3, pp. 236–255, 2013.
Although changes in reading performance of recovering letter-by-letter readers have been described in some detail, no prior research has provided an in-depth analysis of the underlying adaptive word processing strategies. Our work examined the reading performance of a letter-by-letter reader, FH, over a period of 15 months, using eye movement methodology to delineate the recovery process at two different time points (T1, T2). A central question is whether recovery is characterized either by moving back towards normal word processing or by refinement and possibly automatization of an existing pathological strategy that was developed in response to the impairment. More specifically, we hypothesized that letter-by-letter reading may be executed with at least four different strategies and our work sought to distinguish between these alternatives. During recovery significant improvements in reading performance were achieved. A shift of fixation positions from the far left to the extreme right of target words was combined with many small and very few longer regressive saccades. Apparently, ‘letter-by-letter reading' took the form of local clustering, most likely corresponding to the formation ofsublexical units ofanalysis. This pattern was more pronounced at T2, suggesting that improvements in reading efficiency may come at the expense of making it harder to eventually return to normal reading.
Irene Ablinger; Kerstin von Heyden; Christian Vorstius; Katja Halm; Walter Huber; Ralph Radach
In: Neuropsychological Rehabilitation, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 833–867, 2014.
Due to their brain damage, aphasic patients with acquired dyslexia often rely to a greater extent on lexical or segmental reading procedures. Thus, therapy intervention is mostly targeted on the more impaired reading strategy. In the present work we introduce a novel therapy approach based on real-time measurement of patients' eye movements as they attempt to read words. More specifically, an eye movement contingent technique of stepwise letter de-masking was used to support sequential reading, whereas fixation-dependent initial masking of non-central letters stimulated a lexical (parallel) reading strategy. Four lexical and four segmental readers with acquired central dyslexia received our intensive reading intervention. All participants showed remarkable improvements as evident in reduced total reading time, a reduced number of fixations per word and improved reading accuracy. Both types of intervention led to item-specific training effects in all subjects. A generalisation to untrained items was only found in segmental readers after the lexical training. Eye movement analyses were also used to compare word processing before and after therapy, indicating that all patients, with one exclusion, maintained their preferred reading strategy. However, in several cases the balance between sequential and lexical processing became less extreme, indicating a more effective individual interplay of both word processing routes.
Irene Ablinger; Ralph Radach
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 81, pp. 12–21, 2016.
We report on KJ, a patient with acquired dyslexia due to cerebral artery infarction. He represents an unusually clear case of an "output" deep dyslexic reader, with a distinct pattern of pure semantic reading. According to current neuropsychological models of reading, the severity of this condition is directly related to the degree of impairment in semantic and phonological representations and the resulting imbalance in the interaction between the two word processing pathways. The present work sought to examine whether an innovative eye movement supported intervention combining lexical and segmental therapy would strengthen phonological processing and lead to an attenuation of the extreme semantic over-involvement in KJ's word identification process. Reading performance was assessed before (T1) between (T2) and after (T3) therapy using both analyses of linguistic errors and word viewing patterns. Therapy resulted in improved reading aloud accuracy along with a change in error distribution that suggested a return to more sequential reading. Interestingly, this was in contrast to the dynamics of moment-to-moment word processing, as eye movement analyses still suggested a predominantly holistic strategy, even at T3. So, in addition to documenting the success of the therapeutic intervention, our results call for a theoretically important conclusion: Real-time letter and word recognition routines should be considered separately from properties of the verbal output. Combining both perspectives may provide a promising strategy for future assessment and therapy evaluation.
Irene Ablinger; Anne Friede; Ralph Radach
In: Aphasiology, vol. 33, no. 5, pp. 579–605, 2019.
Background: Pure alexia is characterized by effortful left-to-right word processing, leading to a pathological length effect during reading aloud. Results of previous therapy outcome research suggest that patients with pure alexia tend to develop and maintain an adaptive sequential reading strategy in an effort to cope with their severe deficit and at least master a slow and laborious reading mode. Aim: We applied a theory-based, strategy-driven and eye-movement-supported therapy approach on HC, a participant with pure alexia. Our intention was to help optimizing his very persistent sequential reading strategy, while concurrently facilitating fast parallel word processing. Methods & Procedures: Therapy included a systematic combination of segmental and holistic reading as well as text reading components. Exposure duration and font size were gradually reduced. Following a single case experimental reading design with follow-up testing, we assessed reading performance at four testing points focusing on analyses of linguistic errors and word viewing patterns. Outcomes & Results: With respect to reading accuracy and oculomotor measures, the combined therapy approach resulted in sustained training effects evident in significant improvements for trained and untrained word materials. Text reading intervention only led to therapy specific improvements. Spatio-temporal analyses of eye fixation positions revealed a more and more efficient adaptive strategy to compensate for reading difficulties. However, spatial changes in fixation position were less pronounced at T4, suggesting some diminishing of success at follow-up. Conclusions: Our results underscore the need for a continuous systematic training of underlying reading strategies in pure alexia to develop and sustain more economic reading procedures.
Leah Acker; Erica N Pino; Edward S Boyden; Robert Desimone
FEF inactivation with improved optogenetic methods Journal Article
In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 113, no. 46, pp. E7297–E7306, 2016.
Optogenetic methods have been highly effective for suppressing neural activity and modulating behavior in rodents, but effects have been much smaller in primates, which have much larger brains. Here, we present a suite of technologies to use optogenetics effectively in primates and apply these tools to a classic question in oculomotor control. First, we measured light absorption and heat propagation in vivo, optimized the conditions for using the red-light-shifted halorhodopsin Jaws in primates, and developed a large-volume illuminator to maximize light delivery with minimal heating and tissue displacement. Together, these advances allowed for nearly universal neuronal inactivation across more than 10 mm(3) of the cortex. Using these tools, we demonstrated large behavioral changes (i.e., up to several fold increases in error rate) with relatively low light power densities (≤100 mW/mm(2)) in the frontal eye field (FEF). Pharmacological inactivation studies have shown that the FEF is critical for executing saccades to remembered locations. FEF neurons increase their firing rate during the three epochs of the memory-guided saccade task: visual stimulus presentation, the delay interval, and motor preparation. It is unclear from earlier work, however, whether FEF activity during each epoch is necessary for memory-guided saccade execution. By harnessing the temporal specificity of optogenetics, we found that FEF contributes to memory-guided eye movements during every epoch of the memory-guided saccade task (the visual, delay, and motor periods).
John F Ackermann; Michael S Landy
Choice of saccade endpoint under risk Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 13, no. 3, pp. 1–20, 2013.
Eye movements function to bring detailed information onto the high-resolution region of the retina. Previous research has shown that human observers select fixation points that maximize information acquisition and minimize target location uncertainty. In this study, we ask whether human observers choose the saccade endpoint that maximizes gain when there are explicit rewards associated with correctly detecting the target. Observers performed an 8-alternative forced-choice detection task for a contrast-defined target in noise. After a single saccade, observers indicated the target location. Each potential target location had an associated reward that was known to the observer. In some conditions, the reward at one location was higher than at the other locations. We compared human saccade endpoints to those of an ideal observer that maximizes expected gain given the respective human observer's visibility map, i.e., d' for target detection as a function of retinal location. Varying the location of the highest reward had a significant effect on human observers' distribution of saccade endpoints. Both human and ideal observers show a high density of saccades made toward the highest rewarded and actual target locations. But humans' overall spatial distributions of saccade endpoints differed significantly from the ideal observer as they made a greater number of saccade to locations far from the highest rewarded and actual target locations. Suboptimal choice of saccade endpoint, possibly in combination with suboptimal integration of information across saccades, had a significant effect on human observers' ability to correctly detect the target and maximize gain.
Robert Adam; Alexander P Leff; Nihal Sinha; Christopher Turner; Paul Bays; Bogdan Draganski; Masud Husain
In: Cortex, vol. 49, no. 5, pp. 1292–1303, 2013.
Apathy is a complex, behavioural disorder associated with reduced spontaneous initiation of actions. Although present in mild forms in some healthy people, it is a pathological state in conditions such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease where it can have profoundly devastating effects. Understanding the mechanisms underlying apathy is therefore of urgent concern but this has proven difficult because widespread brain changes in neurodegenerative diseases make interpretation difficult and there is no good animal model.Here we present a very rare case with profound apathy following bilateral, focal lesions of the basal ganglia, with globus pallidus regions that connect with orbitofrontal (OFC) and ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VMPFC) particularly affected. Using two measures of oculomotor decision-making we show that apathy in this individual was associated with reward insensitivity. However, reward sensitivity could be established partially with levodopa and more effectively with a dopamine receptor agonist. Concomitantly, there was an improvement in the patient's clinical state, with reduced apathy, greater motivation and increased social interactions. These findings provide a model system to study a key neuropsychiatric disorder. They demonstrate that reward insensitivity associated with basal ganglia dysfunction might be an important component of apathy that can be reversed by dopaminergic modulation.
Ramina Adam; Kevin D Johnston; Stefan Everling
In: Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 122, no. 2, pp. 672–690, 2019.
The caudal primate prefrontal cortex (PFC) is involved in target selection and visually guided saccades through both covert attention and overt orienting eye movements. Unilateral damage to the caudal PFC often leads to decreased awareness of a contralesional target alone, referred to as “neglect,” or when it is presented simultaneously with an ipsilesional target, referred to as “extinction.” In the current study, we examined whether deficits in contralesional target selection were due to contralesional oculomotor deficits, such as slower reaction times. We experimentally induced a focal ischemic lesion in the right caudal PFC of 4 male macaque monkeys using the vasoconstrictor endothelin-1 and measured saccade choice and reaction times on double-stimulus free-choice tasks and single-stimulus trials before and after the lesion. We found that 1) endothelin-1-induced lesions in the caudal PFC produced contralesional target selection deficits that varied in severity and duration based on lesion volume and location; 2) contralesional neglect-like deficits were transient and recovered by week 4 postlesion; 3) contralesional extinction-like deficits were longer lasting and recovered by weeks 8–16 postlesion; 4) contralesional reaction time returned to baseline well before the contralesional choice deficit had recovered; and 5) neither the mean reaction times nor the reaction time distributions could account for the degree of contralesional extinction on the free-choice task throughout recovery. These findings demonstrate that the saccade choice bias observed after a right caudal PFC lesion is not exclusively due to contralesional motor deficits, but instead reflects a combination of impaired motor and attentional processing.
Rick A Adams; Eduardo Aponte; Louise Marshall; Karl J Friston
In: Journal of Neuroscience Methods, vol. 242, pp. 1–14, 2015.
Background: This paper introduces a new paradigm that allows one to quantify the Bayesian beliefs evidenced by subjects during oculomotor pursuit. Subjects' eye tracking responses to a partially occluded sinusoidal target were recorded non-invasively and averaged. These response averages were then analysed using dynamic causal modelling (DCM). In DCM, observed responses are modelled using biologically plausible generative or forward models - usually biophysical models of neuronal activity. New method: Our key innovation is to use a generative model based on a normative (Bayes-optimal) model of active inference to model oculomotor pursuit in terms of subjects' beliefs about how visual targets move and how their oculomotor system responds. Our aim here is to establish the face validity of the approach, by manipulating the content and precision of sensory information - and examining the ensuing changes in the subjects' implicit beliefs. These beliefs are inferred from their eye movements using the normative model. Results: We show that on average, subjects respond to an increase in the 'noise' of target motion by increasing sensory precision in their models of the target trajectory. In other words, they attend more to the sensory attributes of a noisier stimulus. Conversely, subjects only change kinetic parameters in their model but not precision, in response to increased target speed. Conclusions: Using this technique one can estimate the precisions of subjects' hierarchical Bayesian beliefs about target motion. We hope to apply this paradigm to subjects with schizophrenia, whose pursuit abnormalities may result from the abnormal encoding of precision.
Rick A Adams; Markus Bauer; Dimitris Pinotsis; Karl J Friston
In: Neuroimage, vol. 132, pp. 175–189, 2016.
This paper shows that it is possible to estimate the subjective precision (inverse variance) of Bayesian beliefs during oculomotor pursuit. Subjects viewed a sinusoidal target, with or without random fluctuations in its motion. Eye trajectories and magnetoencephalographic (MEG) data were recorded concurrently. The target was periodically occluded, such that its reappearance caused a visual evoked response field (ERF). Dynamic causal modelling (DCM) was used to fit models of eye trajectories and the ERFs. The DCM for pursuit was based on predictive coding and active inference, and predicts subjects' eye movements based on their (subjective) Bayesian beliefs about target (and eye) motion. The precisions of these hierarchical beliefs can be inferred from behavioural (pursuit) data. The DCM for MEG data used an established biophysical model of neuronal activity that includes parameters for the gain of superficial pyramidal cells, which is thought to encode precision at the neuronal level. Previous studies (using DCM of pursuit data) suggest that noisy target motion increases subjective precision at the sensory level: i.e., subjects attend more to the target's sensory attributes. We compared (noisy motion-induced) changes in the synaptic gain based on the modelling of MEG data to changes in subjective precision estimated using the pursuit data. We demonstrate that imprecise target motion increases the gain of superficial pyramidal cells in V1 (across subjects). Furthermore, increases in sensory precision – inferred by our behavioural DCM – correlate with the increase in gain in V1, across subjects. This is a step towards a fully integrated model of brain computations, cortical responses and behaviour that may provide a useful clinical tool in conditions like schizophrenia.
Rick A Adams; Daniel Bush; Fanfan Zheng; Sofie S Meyer; Raphael Kaplan; Stelios Orfanos; Tiago Reis Marques; Oliver D Howes; Neil Burgess
In: Brain, vol. 143, no. 3, pp. 1261–1277, 2020.
Frontotemporal dysconnectivity is a key pathology in schizophrenia. The specific nature of this dysconnectivity is unknown, but animal models imply dysfunctional theta phase coupling between hippocampus and medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC). We tested this hypothesis by examining neural dynamics in 18 participants with a schizophrenia diagnosis, both medicated and unmedicated; and 26 age, sex and IQ matched control subjects. All participants completed two tasks known to elicit hippocampal-prefrontal theta coupling: a spatial memory task (during magnetoencephalography) and a memory integration task. In addition, an overlapping group of 33 schizophrenia and 29 control subjects underwent PET to measure the availability of GABAARs expressing the a5 subunit (concentrated on hippocampal somatostatin interneurons). We demonstrate-in the spatial memory task, during memory recall-that theta power increases in left medial temporal lobe (mTL) are impaired in schizophrenia, as is theta phase coupling between mPFC and mTL. Importantly, the latter cannot be explained by theta power changes, head movement, antipsychotics, cannabis use, or IQ, and is not found in other frequency bands. Moreover, mPFC-mTL theta coupling correlated strongly with performance in controls, but not in subjects with schizophrenia, who were mildly impaired at the spatial memory task and no better than chance on the memory integration task. Finally, mTL regions showing reduced phase coupling in schizophrenia magnetoencephalography participants overlapped substantially with areas of diminished a5-GABAAR availability in the wider schizophrenia PET sample. These results indicate that mPFC-mTL dysconnectivity in schizophrenia is due to a loss of theta phase coupling, and imply a5-GABAARs (and the cells that express them) have a role in this process.
Mehmet N Ağaoğlu; Haluk Öğmen; Susana T L Chung
Unmasking saccadic uncrowding Journal Article
In: Vision Research, vol. 127, pp. 152–164, 2016.
Stimuli that are briefly presented around the time of saccades are often perceived with spatiotemporal distortions. These distortions do not always have deleterious effects on the visibility and identification of a stimulus. Recent studies reported that when a stimulus is the target of an intended saccade, it is released from both masking and crowding. Here, we investigated pre-saccadic changes in single and crowded letter recognition performance in the absence (Experiment 1) and the presence (Experiment 2) of backward masks to determine the extent to which saccadic “uncrowding” and “unmasking” mechanisms are similar. Our results show that pre-saccadic improvements in letter recognition performance are mostly due to the presence of masks and/or stimulus transients which occur after the target is presented. More importantly, we did not find any decrease in crowding strength before impending saccades. A simplified version of a dual-channel neural model, originally proposed to explain masking phenomena, with several saccadic add-on mechanisms, could account for our results in Experiment 1. However, this model falls short in explaining how saccades drastically reduced the effect of backward masking (Experiment 2). The addition of a remapping mechanism that alters the relative spatial positions of stimuli was needed to fully account for the improvements observed when backward masks followed the letter stimuli. Taken together, our results (i) are inconsistent with saccadic uncrowding, (ii) strongly support saccadic unmasking, and (iii) suggest that pre-saccadic letter recognition is modulated by multiple perisaccadic mechanisms with different time courses.
Ioannis Agtzidis; Inga Meyhöfer; Michael Dorr; Rebekka Lencer
In: NeuroImage, vol. 216, pp. 1–11, 2020.
Most fMRI studies investigating smooth pursuit (SP) related brain activity have used simple synthetic stimuli such as a sinusoidally moving dot. However, real-life situations are much more complex and SP does not occur in isolation but within sequences of saccades and fixations. This raises the question whether the same brain networks for SP that have been identified under laboratory conditions are activated when following moving objects in a movie. Here, we used the publicly available studyforrest data set that provides eye movement recordings along with 3 T fMRI recordings from 15 subjects while watching the Hollywood movie “Forrest Gump”. All three major eye movement events, namely fixations, saccades, and smooth pursuit, were detected with a state-of-the-art algorithm. In our analysis, smooth pursuit (SP) was the eye movement of interest, while saccades were acting as the steady state of viewing behaviour due to their lower variability. For the fMRI analysis we used an event-related design modelling saccades and SP as regressors initially. Because of the interdependency of SP and content motion, we then added a new low-level content motion regressor to separate brain activations from these two sources. We identified higher BOLD-responses during SP than saccades bilaterally in MT+/V5, in middle cingulate extending to precuneus, and in the right temporoparietal junction. When the motion regressor was added, SP showed higher BOLD-response relative to saccades bilaterally in the cortex lining the superior temporal sulcus, precuneus, and supplementary eye field, presumably due to a confounding effect of background motion. Only parts of V2 showed higher activation during saccades in comparison to SP. Taken together, our approach should be regarded as proof of principle for deciphering brain activity related to SP, which is one of the most prominent eye movements besides saccades, in complex dynamic naturalistic situations.
C J Aine; H J Bockholt; J R Bustillo; J M Cañive; A Caprihan; C Gasparovic; F M Hanlon; J M Houck; R E Jung; J Lauriello; J Liu; A R Mayer; N I Perrone-Bizzozero; S Posse; Julia M Stephen; J A Turner; V P Clark; Vince D Calhoun
In: Neuroinformatics, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 343–364, 2017.
In this paper we describe an open-access collection ofmultimodal neuroimaging data in schizophrenia for release to the community. Data were acquired from approximately 100 patients with schizophrenia and 100 age-matched controls during rest as well as several task activation paradigms targeting a hierarchy of cognitive constructs. Neuroimaging data include structural MRI, functional MRI, diffusion MRI, MR spectroscopic imaging, and magnetoencephalography. For three of the hypothesis-driven projects, task activation paradigms were acquired on subsets of~200 volunteers which examined a range of sensory and cognitive processes (e.g., auditory sensory gating, auditory/visual multisensory integration, visual transverse patterning). Neuropsychological data were also acquired and genetic material via saliva samples were collected from most of the participants and have been typed for both genome-wide polymorphism data as well as genome-wide methylation data. Some results are also present- ed from the individual studies as well as from our data-driven multimodal analyses (e.g., multimodal examinations of network structure and network dynamics and multitask fMRI data analysis across projects). All data will be released through the Mind Research Network's collaborative informatics and neuroimaging suite (COINS).
Cordelia D Aitkin; Elio M Santos; Eileen Kowler
Anticipatory smooth eye movements in autism spectrum disorder Journal Article
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 8, no. 12, pp. e83230, 2013.
Smooth pursuit eye movements are important for vision because they maintain the line of sight on targets that move smoothly within the visual field. Smooth pursuit is driven by neural representations of motion, including a surprisingly strong influence of high-level signals representing expected motion. We studied anticipatory smooth eye movements (defined as smooth eye movements in the direction of expected future motion) produced by salient visual cues in a group of high-functioning observers with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a condition that has been associated with difficulties in either generating predictions, or translating predictions into effective motor commands. Eye movements were recorded while participants pursued the motion of a disc that moved within an outline drawing of an inverted Y-shaped tube. The cue to the motion path was a visual barrier that blocked the untraveled branch (right or left) of the tube. ASD participants showed strong anticipatory smooth eye movements whose velocity was the same as that of a group of neurotypical participants. Anticipatory smooth eye movements appeared on the very first cued trial, indicating that trial-by-trial learning was not responsible for the responses. These results are significant because they show that anticipatory capacities are intact in high-functioning ASD in cases where the cue to the motion path is highly salient and unambiguous. Once the ability to generate anticipatory pursuit is demonstrated, the study of the anticipatory responses with a variety of types of cues provides a window into the perceptual or cognitive processes that underlie the interpretation of events in natural environments or social situations.
Sara Ajina; Franco Pestilli; Ariel Rokem; Christopher Kennard; Holly Bridge
In: eLife, vol. 4, pp. 1–23, 2015.
Although damage to the primary visual cortex (V1) causes hemianopia, many patients retain some residual vision; known as blindsight. We show that blindsight may be facilitated by an intact white-matter pathway between the lateral geniculate nucleus and motion area hMT+. Visual psychophysics, diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and fibre tractography were applied in 17 patients with V1 damage acquired during adulthood and 9 age-matched controls. Individuals with V1 damage were subdivided into blindsight positive (preserved residual vision) and negative (no residual vision) according to psychophysical performance. All blindsight positive individuals showed intact geniculo-hMT+ pathways, while this pathway was significantly impaired or not measurable in blindsight negative individuals. Two white matter pathways previously implicated in blindsight: (i) superior colliculus to hMT+ and (ii) between hMT+ in each hemisphere were not consistently present in blindsight positive cases. Understanding the visual pathways crucial for residual vision may direct future rehabilitation strategies for hemianopia patients.
Sara Ajina; Geraint Rees; Christopher Kennard; Holly Bridge
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 35, no. 21, pp. 8201–8213, 2015.
When the human primary visual cortex (V1) is damaged, the dominant geniculo-striate pathway can no longer convey visual information to the occipital cortex. However, many patients with such damage retain some residual visual function that must rely on an alternative pathway directly to extrastriate occipital regions. This residual vision is most robust for moving stimuli, suggesting a role for motion area hMT+. However, residual vision also requires high-contrast stimuli, which is inconsistent with hMT+ sensitivity to contrast in which even low-contrast levels elicit near-maximal neural activation. We sought to investigate this discrepancy by measuring behavioral and neural responses to increasing contrast in patients with V1 damage. Eight patients underwent behavioral testing and functional magnetic resonance imaging to record contrast sensitivity in hMT+ of their damaged hemisphere, using Gabor stimuli with a spatial frequency of 1 cycle/degrees. The responses from hMT+ of the blind hemisphere were compared with hMT+ and V1 responses in the sighted hemisphere of patients and a group of age-matched controls. Unlike hMT+, neural responses in V1 tend to increase linearly with increasing contrast, likely reflecting a dominant parvocellular channel input. Across all patients, the responses in hMT+ of the blind hemisphere no longer showed early saturation but increased linearly with contrast. Given the spatiotemporal parameters used in this study and the known direct subcortical projections from the koniocellular layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus to hMT+, we propose that this altered contrast sensitivity in hMT+ could be consistent with input from the koniocellular pathway.
Sara Ajina; Holly Bridge
In: PLoS Biology, vol. 16, no. 7, pp. e2005769, 2018.
When the primary visual cortex (V1) is damaged, the principal visual pathway is lost, causing a loss of vision in the opposite visual field. While conscious vision is impaired, patients can still respond to certain images; this is known as ‘blindsight'. Recently, a direct anatomical connection between the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and human motion area hMT+ has been implicated in blindsight. However, a functional connection between these structures has not been demonstrated. We quantified functional MRI responses to motion in 14 patients with unilateral V1 damage (with and without blindsight). Patients with blindsight showed significant activity and a preserved sensitivity to speed in motion area hMT+, which was absent in patients without blindsight. We then compared functional connectivity between motion area hMT+ and a number of structures implicated in blindsight, including the ventral pulvinar. Only patients with blindsight showed an intact functional connection with the LGN but not the other structures, supporting a specific functional role for the LGN in blindsight.
Sara Ajina; Holly Bridge
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 128, pp. 140–149, 2019.
Residual vision, or blindsight, following damage to the primary visual cortex (V1) has been investigated for almost half a century. While there have been many studies of patients with unilateral damage to V1, far fewer have examined bilateral damage, mainly due to the rarity of such patients. Here we re-examine the residual visual function and underlying pathways of previously studied patient SBR who, as a young adult, suffered bilateral damage restricted to V1 which rendered him cortically blind. While earlier work compared his visual cortex to healthy, sighted participants, here we consider how his visual responses and connections compare to patients with unilateral damage to V1 in addition to sighted participants. Detection of drifting Gabor patches of different contrasts (1%, 5%, 10%, 50% and 100%) was tested in SBR and a group of eight patients with unilateral damage to V1. Performance was compared to the neural activation in motion area hMT+ measured using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Diffusion tractography was also used to determine the white matter microstructure of the visual pathways in all participants. Like the patients with unilateral damage, patient SBR showed increased % BOLD signal change to the high contrast stimuli that he could detect compared to the lower contrast stimuli that were not detectable. Diffusion tractography suggests this information is conveyed by a direct pathway between the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and hMT+ since this pathway had microstructure that was comparable to the healthy control group. In contrast, the pathway between LGN and V1 had reduced integrity compared to controls. A further finding of note was that, unlike control participants, SBR showed similar patterns of contralateral and ipsilateral activity in hMT+, in addition to healthy white matter microstructure in the tract connecting hMT+ between the two hemispheres. This raises the possibility of increased connectivity between the two hemispheres in the absence of V1 input. In conclusion, the pattern of visual function and anatomy in bilateral cortical damage is comparable to that seen in a group of patients with unilateral damage. Thus, while the intact hemisphere may play a role in residual vision in patients with unilateral damage, its influence is not evident with the methodology employed here.
Sara Ajina; Miriam Pollard; Holly Bridge
In: Frontiers in Neurology, vol. 11, pp. 1–18, 2020.
Humans can respond rapidly to viewed expressions of fear, even in the absence of conscious awareness. This is demonstrated using visual masking paradigms in healthy individuals and in patients with cortical blindness due to damage to the primary visual cortex (V1) - so called affective blindsight. Humans have also been shown to implicitly process facial expressions representing important social dimensions. Two major axes, dominance and trustworthiness, are proposed to characterize the social dimensions of face evaluation. The processing of both types of implicit stimuli is believed to occur via similar subcortical pathways involving the amygdala. However, we do not know whether unconscious processing of more subtle expressions of facial traits can occur in blindsight, and if so, how. To test this, we studied 13 patients with unilateral V1 damage and visual field loss. We assessed their ability to detect and discriminate faces that had been manipulated along two orthogonal axes of trustworthiness and dominance to generate five trait levels inside the blind visual field: dominant, submissive, trustworthy, untrustworthy, and neutral. We compared neural activity and functional connectivity in patients classified as blindsight positive or negative for these stimuli. We found that dominant faces were most likely to be detected above chance, with individuals demonstrating unique interactions between performance and face trait. Only patients with blindsight (n = 8) showed significant preference in the superior colliculus and amygdala for face traits in the blind visual field, and a critical functional connection between the amygdala and superior colliculus in the damaged hemisphere. We also found a significant correlation between behavioral performance and fMRI activity in the amygdala and lateral geniculate nucleus across all participants. Our findings confirm that affective blindsight involving the superior colliculus and amygdala extends to the processing of socially salient but emotionally neutral facial expressions when V1 is damaged. This pathway is distinct from that which supports motion blindsight, as both types of blindsight can exist in the absence of the other with corresponding patterns of residual connectivity.
Umair Akram; Jason G Ellis; Andriy Myachykov; Nicola L Barclay
In: Journal of Sleep Research, vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 84–91, 2017.
People with insomnia often perceive their own facial appearance as more tired compared with the appearance of others. Evidence also highlights the eye-region in projecting tiredness cues to perceivers, and tiredness judgements often rely on preferential attention towards this region. Using a novel eye-tracking paradigm, this study examined: (i) whether individuals with insomnia display preferential attention towards the eyeregion, relative to nose and mouth regions, whilst observing faces compared with normal-sleepers; and (ii) whether an attentional bias towards the eye-region amongst individuals with insomnia is self-specific or general in nature. Twenty individuals with DSM-5 Insomnia Disorder and 20 normal-sleepers viewed 48 neutral facial photographs (24 of themselves, 24 of other people) for periods of 4000 ms. Eye movements were recorded using eye-tracking, and first fixation onset, first fixation duration and total gaze duration were examined for three interest-regions (eyes, nose, mouth). Significant group 9 interest-region interactions indicated that, regardless of the face presented, participants with insomnia were quicker to attend to, and spent more time observing, the eye-region relative to the nose and mouth regions compared with normal-sleepers. However, no group 9 face 9 interest-region interactions were established. Thus, whilst individuals with insomnia displayed preferential attention towards the eye-region in general, this effect was not accentuated during self-perception. Insomnia appears to be characterized by a general, rather than self-specific, attentional bias towards the eye-region. These findings contribute to our understanding of face perception in insomnia, and provide tentative support for cognitive models of insomnia demonstrating that individuals with insomnia monitor faces in general, with a specific focus around the eye-region, for cues associated with tiredness.
Nadia Alahyane; Denis Pélisson
Adaptation of saccadic eye movements: Transfer and specificity Journal Article
In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1004, no. 1, pp. 69–77, 2003.
The present study was designed to test whether the adaptation of saccadic eye movements depends only on the eye displacement vector of the trained saccade or also on eye position information. Using the double-step target paradigm in eight human subjects, we first induced in a single session two "opposite directions adaptations" (ODA) of horizontal saccades of the same vector. Each ODA (backward or forward) was linked to one vertical eye position (12.5 degrees up or 25 degrees down) and alternated from trial to trial. The results showed that opposite changes of saccade amplitude can develop simultaneously, indicating that saccadic adaptation depends on orbital eye position. This finding has important functional implications because in everyday life our eyes saccade from constantly changing orbital positions. A comparison of these data to two control conditions in which training trials of a single type (backward or forward) were presented at both 12.5 degrees and -25 degrees eye elevations further indicated that eye position specificity is complete for backward, but not for forward, adaptation. Finally, the control conditions also indicated that the adaptation of a single saccade fully transferred to untrained saccades of the same vector, but initiated from different vertical eye positions. In conclusion, our study indicates that saccadic adaptation mechanisms use vectorial eye displacement signals, but can also take eye position signals into account as a contextual cue when the training involves conflicting saccade amplitude changes
Nadia Alahyane; Ansgar Koene; Denis Pélisson
In: European Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 20, no. 3, pp. 827–836, 2004.
The adaptive mechanisms that control the amplitude of visually guided saccades (VGS) are only partially elucidated. In this study, we investigated, in six human subjects, the transfer of VGS adaptation to averaging saccades elicited by the simultaneous presentation of two visual targets. The generation of averaging saccades requires the transformation of two representations encoding the desired eye displacement toward each of the two targets into a single representation encoding the averaging saccade (averaging programming site). We aimed to evaluate whether VGS adaptation acts upstream (hypothesis 1) or at/below (hypothesis 2) the level of averaging saccades programming. Using the double-step target paradigm, we simultaneously induced a backward adaptation of 17.5 degrees horizontal VGS and a forward adaptation of 17.5 degrees oblique VGS performed along the +/- 40 degrees directions relative to the azimuth. We measured the effects of this dual adaptation protocol on averaging saccades triggered by two simultaneous targets located at 17.5 degrees along the +/- 40 degrees directions. To increase the yield of averaging saccades, we instructed the subjects to move their eyes as fast as possible to an intermediate position between the two targets. We found that the amplitude of averaging saccades was smaller after VGS adaptation than before and differed significantly from that predicted by hypothesis 1, but not by hypothesis 2, with an adaptation transfer of 50%. These findings indicate that VGS adaptation largely occurs at/below the averaging saccade programming site. Based on current knowledge of the neural substrate of averaging saccades, we suggest that VGS adaptation mainly acts at the level of the superior colliculus or downstream.
Nadia Alahyane; Denis Pélisson
Eye position specificity of saccadic adaptation Journal Article
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 45, no. 1, pp. 123–130, 2004.
PURPOSE: The accuracy of saccadic eye movements is maintained throughout life by adaptive mechanisms. With the double-step target paradigm, eight human subjects were investigated to determine whether saccadic adaptation depends only on the eye-displacement vector, or also on eye position as a context cue when two saccades of identical vector are adapted simultaneously. METHODS: First, bidirectional adaptations (BDAs) of horizontal saccades of the same vector were induced in a single training phase. Each direction of adaptation in BDAs (backward and forward) was linked to one vertical eye position (e.g., forward adaptation performed with the eyes directed 12.5 degrees upward and backward adaptation with the eyes 25 degrees downward) and alternated from trial to trial. Second, unidirectional adaptations (UDAs) were tested in two control conditions in which training trials of a single direction (backward or forward) were presented at both 12.5 degrees and -25 degrees eye elevations. RESULTS: Opposite changes in saccade amplitude could develop simultaneously in BDA, indicating that saccadic adaptation depends on orbital eye position. Comparing these data with the control conditions further indicated that eye position specificity was complete for backward, but not for forward, adaptation. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that saccadic adaptation mechanisms use vectorial eye displacement signals, but can also take eye position signals into account as a contextual cue when the training involves conflicting saccade amplitude changes.
Nadia Alahyane; Denis Pélisson
Retention of saccadic adaptation in humans Journal Article
In: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1039, pp. 558–562, 2005.
In the present study, we tested in human subjects the persistence of the oculomotor changes resulting from saccadic adaptation up to 19 days after exposure to the double step target protocol. The main results indicate that the reduction of saccade gain related to the adaptation session (mean gain change of 5 subjects = 22 +/- 4.7%) was partially but significantly retained after 1 day and 5 days (mean amount of retention = 36 +/- 17% and 19.7 +/- 13.3%, respectively) but was no longer significant at day 11 and 19. Unexpectedly, gain changes were larger for leftward than for rightward saccades. No change in saccade dynamics was observed. These data suggest that in humans, adaptive mechanisms induce long lasting changes in visually-guided saccade amplitude, probably reflecting plastic changes in the brain.
Nadia Alahyane; Denis Pélisson
In: Learning & Memory, vol. 12, no. 4, pp. 433–443, 2005.
The adaptation of saccadic eye movements to environmental changes occurring throughout life is a good model of motor learning and motor memory. Numerous studies have analyzed the behavioral properties and neural substrate of oculomotor learning in short-term saccadic adaptation protocols, but to our knowledge, none have tested the persistence of the oculomotor memory. In the present study, the double-step target protocol was used in five human subjects to adaptively decrease the amplitude of reactive saccades triggered by a horizontally-stepping visual target. We tested the amplitude of visually guided saccades just before and at different times (up to 19 days) after the adaptation session. The results revealed that immediately after the adaptation session, saccade amplitude was significantly reduced by 22% on average. Although progressively recovering over days, this change in saccade gain was still statistically significant on days 1 and 5, with an average retention rate of 36% and 19%, respectively. On day 11, saccade amplitude no longer differed from the pre-adaptation value. Adaptation was more effective and more resistant to recovery for leftward saccades than for rightward ones. Lastly, modifications of saccade gain related to adaptation were accompanied by a decrease of both saccade duration and peak velocity. A control experiment indicated that all these findings were specifically related to the adaptation protocol, and further revealed that no change in the main sequence relationships could be specifically related to adaptation. We conclude that in humans, the modifications of saccade amplitude that quickly develop during a double-step target adaptation protocol can remain in memory for a much longer period of time, reflecting enduring plastic changes in the brain.
Nadia Alahyane; Roméo Salemme; Christian Urquizar; Julien Cotti; Alain Guillaume; Jean-Louis Vercher; Denis Pélisson
In: Brain Research, vol. 1135, no. 1, pp. 107–121, 2007.
Saccadic eye movements are permanently controlled and their accuracy maintained by adaptive mechanisms that compensate for physiological or pathological perturbations. In contrast to the adaptation of reactive saccades (RS) which are automatically triggered by the sudden appearance of a single target, little is known about the adaptation of voluntary saccades which allow us to intentionally scan our environment in nearly all our daily activities. In this study, we addressed this issue in human subjects by determining the properties of adaptation of scanning voluntary saccades (SVS) and comparing these features to those of RS. We also tested the reciprocal transfers of adaptation between the two saccade types. Our results revealed that SVS and RS adaptations disclosed similar adaptation fields, time course and recovery levels, with only a slightly lower after-effect for SVS. Moreover, RS and SVS main sequences both remained unaffected after adaptation. Finally and quite unexpectedly, the pattern of adaptation transfers was asymmetrical, with a much stronger transfer from SVS to RS (79%) than in the reverse direction (22%). These data demonstrate that adaptations of RS and SVS share several behavioural properties but at the same time rely on partially distinct processes. Based on these findings, it is proposed that adaptations of RS and SVS may involve a neural network including both a common site and two separate sites specifically recruited for each saccade type.
N Alahyane; V Fonteille; C Urquizar; Roméo Salemme; Norbert Nighoghossian; Denis Pelisson; C Tilikete
In: Cerebellum, vol. 7, no. 4, pp. 595–601, 2008.
Sensory-motor adaptation processes are critically involved in maintaining accurate motor behavior throughout life. Yet their underlying neural substrates and task-dependency bases are still poorly understood. We address these issues here by studying adaptation of saccadic eye movements, a well-established model of sensory-motor plasticity. The cerebellum plays a major role in saccadic adaptation but it has not yet been investigated whether this role can account for the known specificity of adaptation to the saccade type (e.g., reactive versus voluntary). Two patients with focal lesions in different parts of the cerebellum were tested using the double-step target paradigm. Each patient was submitted to two separate sessions: one for reactive saccades (RS) triggered by the sudden appearance of a visual target and the second for scanning voluntary saccades (SVS) performed when exploring a more complex scene. We found that a medial cerebellar lesion impaired adaptation of reactive-but not of voluntary-saccades, whereas a lateral lesion affected adaptation of scanning voluntary saccades, but not of reactive saccades. These findings provide the first evidence of an involvement of the lateral cerebellum in saccadic adaptation, and extend the demonstrated role of the cerebellum in RS adaptation to adaptation of SVS. The double dissociation of adaptive abilities is also consistent with our previous hypothesis of the involvement in saccadic adaptation of partially separated cerebellar areas specific to the reactive or voluntary task (Alahyane et al. Brain Res 1135:107-121 (2007)).
Nadia Alahyane; Anne-Dominique Devauchelle; Roméo Salemme; Denis Pélisson
In: Neuroreport, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 37–41, 2008.
The properties and neural substrates of the adaptive mechanisms that maintain over time the accuracy of voluntary, internally triggered saccades are still poorly understood. Here, we used transfer tests to evaluate the spatial properties of adaptation of scanning voluntary saccades. We found that an adaptive reduction of the size of a horizontal rightward 7 degrees saccade transferred to other saccades of a wide range of amplitudes and directions. This transfer decreased as tested saccades increasingly differed in amplitude or direction from the trained saccade, being null for vertical and leftward saccades. Voluntary saccade adaptation thus presents bounded, but large adaptation fields, suggesting that at least part of the underlying neural substrate encodes saccades as vectors.
Nadia Alahyane; Christelle Lemoine-Lardennois; Coline Tailhefer; Thérèse Collins; Jacqueline Fagard; Karine Doré-Mazars
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 1–12, 2016.
From birth, infants move their eyes to explore their environment, interact with it, and progressively develop a multitude of motor and cognitive abilities. The characteristics and development of oculomotor control in early childhood remain poorly understood today. Here, we examined reaction time and amplitude of saccadic eye movements in 93 7- to 42-month-old children while they oriented toward visual animated cartoon characters appearing at unpredictable locations on a computer screen over 140 trials. Results revealed that saccade performance is immature in children compared to a group of adults: Saccade reaction times were longer, and saccade amplitude relative to target location (10° eccentricity) was shorter. Results also indicated that performance is flexible in children. Although saccade reaction time decreased as age increased, suggesting developmental improvements in saccade control, saccade amplitude gradually improved over trials. Moreover, similar to adults, children were able to modify saccade amplitude based on the visual error made in the previous trial. This second set of results suggests that short visual experience and/or rapid sensorimotor learning are functional in children and can also affect saccade performance.
Naseem Al-aidroos; Jos J Adam; Martin H Fischer; Jay Pratt
In: Journal of Motor Behavior, vol. 40, no. 2, pp. 155–164, 2008.
On the basis of recent observations of a modulation of Fitts's law for manual pointing movements in structured visual arrays (J. J. Adam, R. Mol, J. Pratt, & M. H. Fischer, 2006; J. Pratt, J. J. Adam, & M. H. Fischer, 2007), the authors examined whether a similar modulation occurs for saccadic eye move- ments. Healthy participants (N = 19) made horizontal saccades to targets that appeared randomly in 1 of 4 positions, either on an empty background or within 1 of 4 placeholder boxes. Whereas in previous studies, placeholders caused a decrease in movement time (MT) without the normal decrease in movement accuracy predicted by Fitts's law, placeholders in the present experiment increased saccadic accuracy (decreased endpoint variability) with- out an increase in MT. The present results extend the findings of J. J. Adam et al. of a modulation of Fitts's law from the temporal domain to the spatial domain and from manual movements to eye movements.
Naseem Al-Aidroos; Jay Pratt
In: Visual Cognition, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 26–49, 2010.
Visual distractors disrupt the production of saccadic eye movements temporally, by increasing saccade latency, and spatially, by biasing the trajectory of the movement. The present research investigated the extent to which top-down control can be exerted over these two forms of oculomotor capture. In two experiments, people were instructed to make target directed saccades in the presence of distractors, and temporal and spatial capture were assessed simultaneously by measuring saccade latency and saccade trajectory curvature, respectively. In Experiment 1, an attentional control set manipulation was employed, resulting in the elimination of temporal capture, but only an attenuation of spatial capture. In Experiment 2, foreknowledge of the target location caused an attenuation of temporal capture but an enhancement of spatial capture. These results suggest that, whereas temporal capture is contingent on top-down control, the spatial component of capture is stimulus-driven.
Noor Z Al Dahhan; George K Georgiou; Rickie Hung; Douglas P Munoz; Rauno Parrila; John R Kirby
In: Annals of Dyslexia, vol. 64, no. 2, pp. 137–150, 2014.
Although naming speed (NS) has been shown to predict reading into adulthood and differentiate between adult dyslexics and controls, the question remains why NS is related to reading. To address this question, eye movement methodology was combined with three letter NS tasks (the original letter NS task by Denckla & Rudel, Cortex 10:186-202, 1974, and two more developed by Compton, The Journal of Special Education 37:81-94, 2003, with increased phonological or visual similarity of the letters). Twenty undergraduate students with reading difficulties (RD) and 27 without (NRD) were tested on letter NS tasks (eye movements were recorded during the NS tasks), phonological processing, and reading fluency. The results indicated first that the RD group was slower than the NRD group on all NS tasks with no differences between the NS tasks. In addition, the NRD group had shorter fixation durations, longer saccades, and fewer saccades and fixations than the RD group. Fixation duration and fixation count were significant predictors of reading fluency even after controlling for phonological processing measures. Taken together, these findings suggest that the NS-reading relationship is due to two factors: less able readers require more time to acquire stimulus information during fixation and they make more saccades.
Noor Z Al Dahhan; John R Kirby; Donald C Brien; Douglas P Munoz
In: Journal of Learning Disabilities, vol. 50, no. 3, pp. 275–285, 2017.
Abstract Naming speed (NS) refers to how quickly and accurately participants name a set of familiar stimuli (e.g., letters). NS is an established predictor of reading ability, but controversy remains over why it is related to reading. We used three techniques (stimulus manipulations to emphasize phonological and/or visual aspects, decomposition of NS times into pause and articulation components, and analysis of eye movements during task performance) with three groups of participants (children with dyslexia, ages 9–10; chronological-age [CA] controls, ages 9–10; reading-level [RL] controls, ages 6–7) to examine NS and the NS–reading relationship. Results indicated (a) for all groups, increasing visual similarity of the letters decreased letter naming efficiency and increased naming errors, saccades, regressions (rapid eye movements back to letters already fixated), pause times, and fixation durations; (b) children with dyslexia performed like RL controls and were less efficient, had longer articulation times, pause times, fixation durations, and made more errors and regressions than CA controls; and (c) pause time and fixation duration were the most powerful predictors of reading. We conclude that NS is related to reading via fixation durations and pause times: Longer fixation durations and pause times reflect the greater amount of time needed to acquire visual/orthographic information from stimuli and prepare the correct response.
Noor Z Al Dahhan; John R Kirby; Donald C Brien; Rina Gupta; Allyson Harrison; Douglas P Munoz; Noor Z Al
In: Brain Communications, pp. 1–16, 2020.
We examined the naming speed performance of 18 typically achieving and 16 dyslexic adults while simultaneously recording eye movements, articulations and fMRI data. Naming speed tasks, which require participants to name a list of letters or objects, have been proposed as a proxy for reading and are thought to recruit similar reading networks in the left hemisphere of the brain as more complex reading tasks. We employed letter and object naming speed tasks, with task manipulations to make the stimuli more or less phonologically and/or visually similar. Compared to typically achieving readers, readers with dyslexia had a poorer behav-ioural naming speed task performance, longer fixation durations, more regressions and increased activation in areas of the reading network in the left-hemisphere. Whereas increased network activation was positively associated with performance in dyslexics, it was negatively related to performance in typically achieving readers. Readers with dyslexia had greater bilateral activation and recruited additional regions involved with memory, namely the amygdala and hippocampus; in contrast, the typically achieving readers additionally activated the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Areas within the reading network were differentially activated by stimulus manipulations to the naming speed tasks. There was less efficient naming speed behavioural performance, longer fixation durations, more regressions and increased neural activity when letter stimuli were both phonologically and visually similar. Discussion focuses on the differences in activation within the reading network, how they are related to behavioural task differences, and how progress in furthering the understanding of the relationship between behavioural performance and brain activity can change the overall trajectories of children with reading difficulties by contributing to both early identification and remediation processes. Abbreviations: AC-PC ¼ anterior commissure-posterior commissure plane; AG ¼ angular gyrus; DLPFC ¼ dorsolateral pre-frontal cortex; FEF ¼ frontal eye fields; FG ¼ fusiform gyrus; fMRI ¼ functional magnetic resonance imaging; IFG ¼ inferior frontal gyrus; LC ¼ letters control NS task; MFG ¼ middle frontal gyrus; MOG ¼ middle occipital gyrus; MP-RAGE ¼ magnet-ization-prepared rapid gradient-echo; MTG ¼ middle temporal gyrus; NS ¼ naming speed; OC ¼ object control NS task; OPS ¼ phonologically similar object NS task; PEF ¼ parietal eye field; PS ¼ phonologically similar NS task; RFX GLM ¼ random-effects multi-subject general linear model; ROI ¼ regions of interest; SEF ¼ supplementary eye field; SMG ¼ supramarginal gyrus; STG ¼ superior temporal gyrus; VS ¼ visually similar NS task; VPS ¼ visually and phonologically similar NS task.
Fredrik Allenmark; Zhuanghua Shi; Rasmus L Pistorius; Laura A Theisinger; Nikolaos Koutsouleris; Peter Falkai; Hermann J Müller; Christine M Falter-Wagner
In: Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, pp. 1–15, 2020.
Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are thought to under-rely on prior knowledge in perceptual decision-making. This study examined whether this applies to decisions of attention allocation, of relevance for ‘predictive-coding' accounts of ASD. In a visual search task, a salient but task-irrelevant distractor appeared with higher probability in one display half. Individuals with ASD learned to avoid ‘attentional capture' by distractors in the probable region as effectively as control participants—indicating typical priors for deploying attention. However, capture by a ‘surprising' distractor at an unlikely location led to greatly slowed identification of a subsequent target at that location—indicating that individuals with ASD attempt to control surprise (unexpected attentional capture) by over-regulating parameters in post-selective decision-making.
Ava-Ann Allman; Ulrich Ettinger; Ridha Joober; Gillian A O'Driscoll
In: Journal of Psychopharmacology, vol. 26, no. 11, pp. 1471–1479, 2012.
Eye movements are sensitive indicators of pharmacological effects on sensorimotor and cognitive processing. Methylphenidate (MPH) is one of the most prescribed medications in psychiatry. It is increasingly used as a cognitive enhancer by healthy individuals. However, little is known of its effect on healthy cognition. Here we used oculomotor tests to evaluate the effects of MPH on basic oculomotor and executive functions. Twenty-nine males were given 20mg of MPH orally in a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design. Participants performed visually-guided saccades, sinusoidal smooth pursuit, predictive saccades and antisaccades one hour post-capsule administration. Heart rate and blood pressure were assessed prior to capsule administration, and again before and after task performance. Visually-guided saccade latency decreased with MPH (ptextless0.004). Smooth pursuit gain increased on MPH (ptextless0.001) and number of saccades during pursuit decreased (ptextless0.001). Proportion of predictive saccades increased on MPH (ptextless0.004), specifically in conditions with predictable timing. Peak velocity of predictive saccades increased with MPH (ptextless0.01). Antisaccade errors and latency were unaffected. Physiological variables were also unaffected. The effects on visually-guided saccade latency and peak velocity are consistent with MPH effects on dopamine in basal ganglia. The improvements in predictive saccade conditions and smooth pursuit suggest effects on timing functions.
Roy Amit; Dekel Abeles; Izhar Bar-Gad; Shlomit Yuval-Greenberg
Temporal dynamics of saccades explained by a self-paced process Journal Article
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 7, pp. 886, 2017.
Sensory organs are thought to sample the environment rhythmically thereby providing periodic perceptual input. Whisking and sniffing are governed by oscillators which impose rhythms on the motor-control of sensory acquisition and consequently on sensory input. Saccadic eye movements are the main visual sampling mechanism in primates, and were suggested to constitute part of such a rhythmic exploration system. In this study we characterized saccadic rhythmicity, and examined whether it is consistent with autonomous oscillatory generator or with self-paced generation. Eye movements were tracked while observers were either free-viewing a movie or fixating a static stimulus. We inspected the temporal dynamics of exploratory and fixational saccades and quantified their first-order and high-order dependencies. Data were analyzed using methods derived from spike-train analysis, and tested against mathematical models and simulations. The findings show that saccade timings are explained by first-order dependencies, specifically by their refractory period. Saccade-timings are inconsistent with an autonomous pace-maker but are consistent with a “self-paced” generator, where each saccade is a link in a chain of neural processes that depend on the outcome of the saccade itself. We propose a mathematical model parsimoniously capturing various facets of saccade-timings, and suggest a possible neural mechanism producing the observed dynamics.
Roy Amit; Dekel Abeles; Marisa Carrasco; Shlomit Yuval-Greenberg
Oculomotor inhibition reflects temporal expectations Journal Article
In: NeuroImage, vol. 184, pp. 279–292, 2019.
The accurate extraction of signals out of noisy environments is a major challenge of the perceptual system. Forming temporal expectations and continuously matching them with perceptual input can facilitate this process. In humans, temporal expectations are typically assessed using behavioral measures, which provide only retrospective but no real-time estimates during target anticipation, or by using electrophysiological measures, which require extensive preprocessing and are difficult to interpret. Here we show a new correlate of temporal expectations based on oculomotor behavior. Observers performed an orientation-discrimination task on a central grating target, while their gaze position and EEG were monitored. In each trial, a cue preceded the target by a varying interval (“foreperiod”). In separate blocks, the cue was either predictive or non-predictive regarding the timing of the target. Results showed that saccades and blinks were inhibited more prior to an anticipated regular target than a less-anticipated irregular one. This consistent oculomotor inhibition effect enabled a trial-by-trial classification according to interval-regularity. Additionally, in the regular condition the slope of saccade-rate and drift were shallower for longer than shorter foreperiods, indicating their adjustment according to temporal expectations. Comparing the sensitivity of this oculomotor marker with those of other common predictability markers (e.g. alpha-suppression) showed that it is a sensitive marker for cue-related anticipation. In contrast, temporal changes in conditional probabilities (hazard-rate) modulated alpha-suppression more than cue-related anticipation. We conclude that pre-target oculomotor inhibition is a correlate of temporal predictions induced by cue-target associations, whereas alpha-suppression is more sensitive to conditional probabilities across time.
Roy Amit; Dekel Abeles; Shlomit Yuval-Greenberg
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 1–23, 2019.
Saccades shift the gaze rapidly every few hundred milliseconds from one fixated location to the next, producing a flow of visual input into the visual system even in the absence of changes in the environment. During fixation, small saccades called microsaccades are produced 1–3 times per second, generating a flow of visual input. The characteristics of this visual flow are determined by the timings of the saccades and by the characteristics of the visual stimuli on which they are performed. Previous models of microsaccade generation have accounted for the effects of external stimulation on the production of microsaccades, but they have not considered the effects of the prolonged background stimulus on which microsaccades are performed. The effects of this stimulus on the process of microsaccade generation could be sustained, following its prolonged presentation, or transient, through the visual transients produced by the microsaccades themselves. In four experiments, we varied the properties of the constant displays and examined the resulting modulation of microsaccade properties: their sizes, their timings, and the correlations between properties of consecutive microsaccades. Findings show that displays of higher spatial frequency and contrast produce smaller microsaccades and longer minimal intervals between consecutive microsaccades; and smaller microsaccades are followed by smaller and delayed microsaccades. We explain these findings in light of previous models and suggest a conceptual model by which both sustained and transient effects of the stimulus have central roles in determining the generation of microsaccades.
Richard Amlôt; Robin Walker; Jon Driver; Charles Spence
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 41, no. 1, pp. 1–15, 2003.
Neurophysiological studies have demonstrated multisensory interaction effects in the neural structures involved in saccade generation when visual, auditory or somatosensory stimuli are presented bimodally. Visual–auditory interaction effects have been demonstrated in numerous behavioural studies of saccades but little is known about interaction effects involving somatosensory stimuli. The present study examined visual–somatosensory interaction effects on saccade generation using a multisensory paradigm, whereby task-irrelevant distractors appeared spatially-coincident with, or remote from the designated saccade target. Somatosensory distractors reduced the latency of saccades when presented before the visual target and the greatest facilitation effectwas observed with spatially-coincident stimuli.Visual distractors spatially-coincident with a somatosensory target reduced latency (and increased peak velocity) when presented before and after the target.Visual distractors contralateral to somatosensory targets increased saccade latency and produced high error rates of saccades made to the distractor. The high error rates and latencymodulation with visual distractors is consistent with a bias for visual stimuli in the saccadic system. In the visual target condition, saccade latency was modulated by a somatosensory distractor that was entirely task-irrelevant and this effect was always greatest with spatially-coincident distractors. The multisensory distractor effects are discussed in terms of saccades being programmed to the non-target modality, the early triggering of a non-spatial saccade ‘when' signal, and multisensory neuronal enhancement effects.
Tatiana A Amor; Saulo D S Reis; Daniel Campos; Hans J Herrmann; José S Andrade
Persistence in eye movement during visual search Journal Article
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 6, pp. 20815, 2016.
As any cognitive task, visual search involves a number of underlying processes that cannot be directly observed and measured. In this way, the movement of the eyes certainly represents the most explicit and closest connection we can get to the inner mechanisms governing this cognitive activity. Here we show that the process of eye movement during visual search, consisting of sequences of fixations intercalated by saccades, exhibits distinctive persistent behaviors. Initially, by focusing on saccadic directions and intersaccadic angles, we disclose that the probability distributions of these measures show a clear preference of participants towards a reading-like mechanism (geometrical persistence), whose features and potential advantages for searching/foraging are discussed. We then perform a Multifractal Detrended Fluctuation Analysis (MF-DFA) over the time series of jump magnitudes in the eye trajectory and find that it exhibits a typical multifractal behavior arising from the sequential combination of saccades and fixations. By inspecting the time series composed of only fixational movements, our results reveal instead a monofractal behavior with a Hurst exponent , which indicates the presence of long-range power-law positive correlations (statistical persistence). We expect that our methodological approach can be adopted as a way to understand persistence and strategy-planning during visual search.
Nicola C Anderson; Eduard Ort; Wouter Kruijne; Martijn Meeter; Mieke Donk
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 15, no. 5, pp. 1–22, 2015.
It is generally accepted that salience affects eye movements in simple artificially created search displays. However, no such consensus exists for eye movements in natural scenes, with several reports arguing that it is mostly high-level cognitive factors that control oculomotor behavior in natural scenes. Here, we manipulate the salience distribution across images by decreasing or increasing the contrast in a gradient across the image. We recorded eye movements in an encoding task (Experiment 1) and a visual search task (Experiment 2) and analyzed the relationship between the latency of fixations and subsequent saccade targeting throughout scene viewing. We find that short-latency first saccades are more likely to land on a region of the image with high salience than long-latency and subsequent saccades in both the encoding and visual search tasks. This implies that salience indeed influences oculomotor behavior in natural scenes, albeit on a different timescale than previously reported. We discuss our findings in relation to current theories of saccade control in natural scenes.
Elaine J Anderson; Marc S Tibber; Samuel D Schwarzkopf; Sukhwinder S Shergill; Emilio Fernandez-Egea; Geraint Rees; Steven C Dakin
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 37, no. 6, pp. 1546–1556, 2017.
People with schizophrenia (SZ) experience abnormal visual perception on a range of visual tasks, which have been linked to abnormal synaptic transmission and an imbalance between cortical excitation and inhibition. However, differences in the underlying architecture of visual cortex neurons, which might explain these visual anomalies, have yet to be reportedin vivoHere, we probed the neural basis of these deficits using fMRI and population receptive field (pRF) mapping to infer properties of visually responsive neurons in people with SZ. We employed a difference-of-Gaussian model to capture the center-surround configuration of the pRF, providing critical information about the spatial scale of the pRFs inhibitory surround. Our analysis reveals that SZ is associated with reduced pRF size in early retinotopic visual cortex, as well as a reduction in size and depth of the inhibitory surround in V1, V2, and V4. We consider how reduced inhibition might explain the diverse range of visual deficits reported in SZ.
Susana Araújo; Falk Huettig; Antje Meyer
In: Scientific Studies of Reading, pp. 1–16, 2020.
This eye-tracking study explored how phonological encoding and speech production planning for successive words are coordinated in adult readers with dyslexia (N = 22) and control readers (N = 25) during rapid automatized naming (RAN). Using an object-RAN task, we orthogonally manipulated the word-form frequency and phonological neighborhood density of the object names and assessed the effects on speech and eye movements and their temporal coordination. In both groups, there was a significant interaction between word frequency and neighborhood density: shorter fixations for dense than for sparse neighborhoods were observed for low- but not for high-frequency words. This finding does not suggest a specific difficulty in lexical phonological access in dyslexia. However, in readers with dyslexia only, these lexical effects percolated to the late processing stages, indicated by longer offset eye-speech lags. We close by discussing potential reasons for this finding, including suboptimal specification of phonological representations and deficits in attention control or in multi-item coordination.
Neil K Archibald; Samuel B Hutton; Michael P Clarke; Urs P Mosimann; David J Burn
In: Brain, vol. 136, no. 3, pp. 739–750, 2013.
Parkinson's disease, typically thought of as a movement disorder, is increasingly recognized as causing cognitive impairment and dementia. Eye movement abnormalities are also described, including impairment of rapid eye movements (saccades) and the fixations interspersed between them. Such movements are under the influence of cortical and subcortical networks commonly targeted by the neurodegeneration seen in Parkinson's disease and, as such, may provide a marker for cognitive decline. This study examined the error rates and visual exploration strategies of subjects with Parkinson's disease, with and without cognitive impairment, whilst performing a battery of visuo-cognitive tasks. Error rates were significantly higher in those Parkinson's disease groups with either mild cognitive impairment (P = 0.001) or dementia (P textless 0.001), than in cognitively normal subjects with Parkinson's disease. When compared with cognitively normal subjects with Parkinson's disease, exploration strategy, as measured by a number of eye tracking variables, was least efficient in the dementia group but was also affected in those subjects with Parkinson's disease with mild cognitive impairment. When compared with control subjects and cognitively normal subjects with Parkinson's disease, saccade amplitudes were significantly reduced in the groups with mild cognitive impairment or dementia. Fixation duration was longer in all Parkinson's disease groups compared with healthy control subjects but was longest for cognitively impaired Parkinson's disease groups. The strongest predictor of average fixation duration was disease severity. Analysing only data from the most complex task, with the highest error rates, both cognitive impairment and disease severity contributed to a predictive model for fixation duration F(2,76) = 12.52, P 0.001, but medication dose did not (r = 0.18
Kiki Arkesteijn; Jeroen B J Smeets; Mieke Donk; Artem V Belopolsky
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 8, pp. 15709, 2018.
When a distractor is presented in close spatial proximity to a target, a saccade tends to land in between the two objects rather than on the target. This robust phenomenon (also referred to as the global efect) is thought to refect unresolved competition between target and distractor. It is unclear whether this landing bias persists across saccades since a saccade displaces the retinotopic representations of target and distractor. In the present study participants made successive saccades towards two saccadic targets which were presented simultaneously with an irrelevant distractor in close proximity to the second saccade target. The second saccade was either visually-guided or memory-guided. For the memory-guided trials, the second saccade showed a landing bias towards the location of the distractor, despite the disappearance of the distractor after the frst saccade. In contrast, for the visually-guided trials, the bias was corrected and the landing bias was eliminated, even for saccades with the shortest intersaccadic intervals. This suggests that the biased saccade plan was remapped across the frst saccade. Therefore, we conclude that the target-distractor competition was not resolved across a saccade, but can be resolved based on visual information that is available after a saccade.
Kiki Arkesteijn; Mieke Donk; Jeroen B J Smeets; Artem V Belopolsky
Visual information is required to reduce the global effect Journal Article
In: Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, vol. 82, no. 5, pp. 2340–2347, 2020.
When a distractor appears in close proximity to a saccade target, the saccadic end point is biased towards the distractor. This so-called global effect reduces with the latency of the saccade if the saccade is visually guided. We recently reported that the global effect does not reduce with the latency of a double-step memory-guided saccade. The aim of this study was to investigate why the global effect in memory-guided saccades does not show the typically observed reduction with saccadic latency. One possibility is that reduction of the global effect requires continuous access to visual information about target and distractor locations, which is lacking in the case of a memory-guided saccade. Alternatively, participants may be inclined to routinely preprogram a memory-guided saccade at the moment the visual information disappears, with the result that a memory-guided saccade is typically programmed on the basis of an earlier representation than necessary. To distinguish between these alternatives, two potential targets were presented, and participants were asked to make a saccade to one of them after a delay. In one condition, the target identity was precued, allowing preprogramming of the saccade, while in another condition, it was revealed by a retro cue after the delay. The global effect remained present in both conditions. Increasing visual exposure of target and distractor led to a reduction of the global effect, irrespective of whether participants could preprogram a saccade or not. The results suggest that continuous access to visual information is required in order to eliminate the global effect.
Sophie C Arkin; Daniel Ruiz-Betancourt; Emery C Jamerson; Roland T Smith; Nicole E Strauss; Casimir C Klim; Daniel C Javitt; Gaurav H Patel
In: NeuroImage: Clinical, vol. 27, pp. 1–10, 2020.
Visual processing and attention deficits are responsible for a substantial portion of the disability caused by schizophrenia, but the source of these deficits remains unclear. In 35 schizophrenia patients (SzP) and 34 healthy controls (HC), we used a rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) visual search task designed to activate/deactivate the cortical components of the attentional control system (i.e. the dorsal and ventral attention networks, lateral prefrontal regions in the frontoparietal network, and cingulo-opercular/salience networks), along with resting state functional connectivity, to examine the integrity of these components. While we find that behavioral performance and activation/deactivation of the RSVP task are largely similar between groups, SzP exhibited decreased functional connectivity within late visual components and between prefrontal and other components. We also find that performance correlates with the deactivation of the ventral attention network in SzP only. This relationship is mediated by the functional connectivity of critical components of the attentional control system. In summary, our results suggest that the attentional control system is potentially used to compensate for visual cortex deficits. Furthermore, prefrontal deficits in SzP may interfere with this compensatory use of the attentional control system. In addition to highlighting focal deficits and potential compensatory mechanisms in visual processing and attention, our findings point to the attentional control system as a potential target for rehabilitation and neuromodulation-based treatments for visual processing deficits in SzP.
I T Armstrong; Douglas P Munoz
In: Experimental Brain Research, vol. 152, no. 4, pp. 444–452, 2003.
Children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are impulsive, and that impulsiveness can be measured using a countermanding task. Although the overt behaviors of ADHD attenuate with age, it is not clear how well impulsiveness is controlled in adults with ADHD. We tested ADHD adults with an oculomotor countermanding task. The task included two conditions: on 75% of the trials, participants viewed a central fixation marker and then looked to an eccentric target that appeared simultaneous with the disappearance of the fixation marker; on 25% of the trials, a signal was presented at variable delays after target appearance. The signal instructed subjects to stop, or countermand, an eye movement to the target. A correct movement in this case would be to hold gaze at the central fixation location. We expected ADHD participants to be impulsive in their countermanding performance. Additionally, we expected that a visual stop signal at the central fixation location would assist oculomotor countermanding because the signal is presented in the "stop" location, at fixation. To test whether a central stop signal positively biased countermanding, we used a three types of stop signal to instruct the stop: a central visual marker, a peripheral visual signal, and a non-localized sound. All subjects performed best with the central visual stop signal. Subjects with ADHD were less able to countermand eye movements and were influenced more negatively by the non-central signals. Oculomotor countermanding may be useful for quantifying impulsive dysfunction in adults with ADHD especially if a non-central stop signal is applied.
I T Armstrong; Douglas P Munoz
In: Experimental Brain Research, vol. 152, no. 2, pp. 243–250, 2003.
The attentional blink paradigm tests attention by overloading it: a list of stimuli is presented very rapidly one after another at the same location on a computer screen, each item overwriting the last, and participants monitor the list using two criteria [e.g. detect the target (red letter) and identify the probe (letter p)]. If the interval between the target and the probe is greater than about 500 ms, both are usually reported correctly, but, when the interval between the target and the probe is within 200-500 ms, report of the probe declines. This decline is the attentional blink, an interval of time when attention is supposedly switching from the first criterion to the second. The attentional blink paradigm should be difficult to perform correctly without vigilantly attending to the rapidly presented list. Vigilance tasks are often used to assess attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Symptoms of the disorder include hyperactivity and attentional dysfunction; however, some people with ADHD also have difficulty maintaining gaze at a fixed location. We tested 15 adults with ADHD and their age- and sex-matched controls, measuring accuracy and gaze stability during the attentional blink task. ADHD participants reported fewer targets and probes, took longer to recover from the attentional blink, made more eye movements, and made identification errors consistent with non-perception of the letter list. In contrast, errors made by control participants were consistent with guessing (i.e., report of a letter immediately preceding or succeeding the correct letter). Excessive eye movements result in poorer performance for all participants; however, error patterns confirm that the weak performance of ADHD participants may be related to gaze instability as well as to attentional dysfunction.
Daniel S Asfaw; Pete R Jones; Nicholas D Smith; David P Crabb
In: Data in Brief, vol. 19, pp. 1266–1273, 2018.
Eye movements of glaucoma patients have been shown to differ from age-similar control groups when performing everyday tasks, such as reading (Burton et al., 2012; Smith et al., 2014) [1,2], visual search (Smith et al., 2012) , face recognition (Glen et al., 2013) , driving, and viewing static images (Smith et al., 2012) . Described here is the dataset from a recent publication in which we compared the eye movements of 44 glaucoma patients and 32 age-similar controls, while they watched a series of short video clips taken from television programs (Crabb et al., 2018) . Gaze was recorded at 1000 Hz using a remote eye-tracker. We also provide demographic information and results from a clinical examination of vision for each participant.
Daniel S Asfaw; Pete R Jones; M M Vera; Nicholas D Smith; David P Crabb
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 59, no. 8, pp. 3189–3198, 2018.
PURPOSE. To investigate whether glaucoma produces measurable changes in eye movements. METHODS. Fifteen glaucoma patients with asymmetric vision loss (difference in mean deviation [MD] textgreater 6 dB between eyes) were asked to monocularly view 120 images of natural scenes, presented sequentially on a computer monitor. Each image was viewed twice—once each with the better and worse eye. Patients' eye movements were recorded with an Eyelink 1000 eye-tracker. Eye-movement parameters were computed and compared within participants (better eye versus worse eye). These parameters included a novel measure: saccadic reversal rate (SRR), as well as more traditional metrics such as saccade amplitude, fixation counts, fixation duration, and spread of fixation locations (bivariate contour ellipse area [BCEA]). In addition, the associations of these parameters with clinical measures of vision were investigated. RESULTS. In the worse eye, saccade amplitude (p = 0.012; -13%) and BCEA (p = 0.005; -16 %) were smaller, while SRR was greater (p = 0.018; +16%). There was a significant correlation between the intereye difference in BCEA, and differences in MD values (Spearman's r = 0.65; p = 0.01), while differences in SRR were associated with differences in visual acuity (Spearman's r = 0.64; p = 0.01). Furthermore, between-eye differences in BCEA were a significant predictor of between-eye differences in MD: for every 1-dB difference in MD, BCEA reduced by 6.2% (95% confidence interval, 1.6%–10.3%). CONCLUSIONS. Eye movements are altered by visual field loss, and these changes are related to changes in clinical measures. Eye movements recorded while passively viewing images could potentially be used as biomarkers for visual field damage.
Mania Asgharpour; Mehdi Tehrani-Doost; Mehrnoosh Ahmadi; Hamid Moshki
In: Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, vol. 10, no. 1, pp. 13–18, 2015.
OBJECTIVE: Deficits in the processing of facial emotions have been reported extensively in patients with schizophrenia. To explore whether restricted attention is the cause of impaired emotion processing in these patients, we examined visual attention through tracking eye movements in response to emotional and neutral face stimuli in a group of patients with schizophrenia and healthy individuals. We also examined the correlation between visual attention allocation and symptoms severity in our patient group. METHOD: Thirty adult patients with schizophrenia and 30 matched healthy controls participated in this study. Visual attention data were recorded while participants passively viewed emotional-neutral face pairs for 500 ms. The relationship between the visual attention and symptoms severity were assessed by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) in the schizophrenia group. Repeated Measures ANOVAs were used to compare the groups. RESULTS: Comparing the number of fixations made during face-pairs presentation, we found that patients with schizophrenia made fewer fixations on faces, regardless of the expression of the face. Analysis of the number of fixations on negative-neutral pairs also revealed that the patients made fewer fixations on both neutral and negative faces. Analysis of number of fixations on positive-neutral pairs only showed more fixations on positive relative to neutral expressions in both groups. We found no correlations between visual attention pattern to faces and symptom severity in schizophrenic patients. CONCLUSION: The results of this study suggest that the facial recognition deficit in schizophrenia is related to decreased attention to face stimuli. Finding of no difference in visual attention for positive-neutral face pairs between the groups is in line with studies that have shown increased ability to positive emotional perception in these patients.
Serguei V Astafiev; Gordon L Shulman; Nicholas V Metcalf; Jennifer Rengachary; Christine L MacDonald; Deborah L Harrington; Jun Maruta; Joshua S Shimony; Jamshid Ghajar; Mithun Diwakar; Ming-Xiong X Huang; Roland R Lee; Maurizio Corbetta
In: Journal of Neurotrauma, vol. 32, no. 16, pp. 1254–1271, 2015.
Concussion, or mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), can cause persistent behavioral symptoms and cognitive impairment, but it is unclear if this condition is associated with detectable structural or functional brain changes. At two sites, chronic mTBI human subjects with persistent post-concussive symptoms (three months to five years after injury) and age- and education-matched healthy human control subjects underwent extensive neuropsychological and visual tracking eye movement tests. At one site, patients and controls also performed the visual tracking tasks while blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) signals were measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging. Although neither neuropsychological nor visual tracking measures distinguished patients from controls at the level of individual subjects, abnormal BOLD signals were reliably detected in patients. The most consistent changes were localized in white matter regions: anterior internal capsule and superior longitudinal fasciculus. In contrast, BOLD signals were normal in cortical regions, such as the frontal eye field and intraparietal sulcus, that mediate oculomotor and attention functions necessary for visual tracking. The abnormal BOLD signals accurately differentiated chronic mTBI patients from healthy controls at the single-subject level, although they did not correlate with symptoms or neuropsychological performance. We conclude that subjects with persistent post-concussive symptoms can be identified years after their TBI using fMRI and an eye movement task despite showing normal structural MRI and DTI.
Serguei V Astafiev; Kristina L Zinn; Gordon L Shulman; Maurizio Corbetta
In: NeuroImage: Clinical, vol. 11, pp. 10–19, 2016.
We report on the results of a multimodal imaging study involving behavioral assessments, evoked and resting-state BOLD fMRI, and DTI in chronic mTBI subjects. We found that larger task-evoked BOLD activity in the MT+/LO region in extra-striate visual cortex correlated with mTBI and PTSD symptoms, especially light sensitivity. Moreover, higher FA values near the left optic radiation (OR) were associated with both light sensitivity and higher BOLD activity in the MT+/LO region. The MT+/LO region was localized as a region of abnormal functional connectivity with central white matter regions previously found to have abnormal physiological signals during visual eye movement tracking (Astafiev et al., 2015). We conclude that mTBI symptoms and light sensitivity may be related to excessive responsiveness of visual cortex to sensory stimuli. This abnormal sensitivity may be related to chronic remodeling of white matter visual pathways acutely injured.
Jeroen Atsma; Femke Maij; Brian D Corneil; Pieter W Medendorp
No perisaccadic mislocalization with abruptly cancelled saccades Journal Article
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 34, no. 16, pp. 5497–5504, 2014.
Every saccadic eye movement that we make changes the image of the world on our retina. Yet, despite these retinal shifts, we still perceive our visual world to be stable. Efference copy from the oculomotor system to the visual system has been suggested to contribute to this stable percept, enabling the brain to anticipate the retinal image shifts by remapping the neural image. A psychophysical phenomenon that has been linked to this predictive remapping is the mislocalization of a stimulus flashed around the time of a saccade. If this mislocalization is initiated by saccade preparation, one should also observe localization errors when a saccade is planned, but abruptly aborted just before its execution. We tested this hypothesis in human subjects using a novel paradigm that combines a flash localization task with a countermanding component that occasionally requires saccade cancellation. Surprisingly, we found no trace of mislocalization, even for saccades cancelled close to the point of no return. This strongly suggests that the actual execution of the saccade is a prerequisite for the typical localization errors, which rejects various models and constrains neural substrates. We conclude that perisaccadic mislocalization is not a direct consequence of saccade preparation, but arises after saccade execution when the flash location is constructed from memory.
Jeroen Atsma; Femke Maij; Mathieu Koppen; David E Irwin; Pieter W Medendorp
Causal inference for spatial constancy across saccades Journal Article
In: PLoS Computational Biology, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. e1004766, 2016.
Our ability to interact with the environment hinges on creating a stable visual world despite the continuous changes in retinal input. To achieve visual stability, the brain must distinguish the retinal image shifts caused by eye movements and shifts due to movements of the visual scene. This process appears not to be flawless: during saccades, we often fail to detect whether visual objects remain stable or move, which is called saccadic suppression of displacement (SSD). How does the brain evaluate the memorized information of the presaccadic scene and the actual visual feedback of the postsaccadic visual scene in the computations for visual stability? Using a SSD task, we test how participants localize the presaccadic position of the fixation target, the saccade target or a peripheral non-foveated target that was displaced parallel or orthogonal during a horizontal saccade, and subsequently viewed for three different durations. Results showed different localization errors of the three targets, depending on the viewing time of the postsaccadic stimulus and its spatial separation from the presaccadic location. We modeled the data through a Bayesian causal inference mechanism, in which at the trial level an optimal mixing of two possible strategies, integration vs. separation of the presaccadic memory and the postsaccadic sensory signals, is applied. Fits of this model generally outperformed other plausible decision strategies for producing SSD. Our findings suggest that humans exploit a Bayesian inference process with two causal structures to mediate visual stability.
Colas N Authié; Daniel R Mestre
In: Vision Research, vol. 51, no. 16, pp. 1791–1800, 2011.
When analyzing gaze behavior during curve driving, it is commonly accepted that gaze is mostly located in the vicinity of the tangent point, being the point where gaze direction tangents the curve inside edge. This approach neglects the fact that the tangent point is actually motionless only in the limit case when the trajectory precisely follows the curve's geometry. In this study, we measured gaze behavior during curve driving, with the general hypothesis that gaze is not static, when exposed to a global optical flow due to self-motion. In order to study spatio-temporal aspects of gaze during curve driving, we used a driving simulator coupled to a gaze recording system. Ten participants drove seven runs on a track composed of eight curves of various radii (50, 100, 200 and 500. m), with each radius appearing in both right and left directions. Results showed that average gaze position was, as previously described, located in the vicinity of the tangent point. However, analysis also revealed the presence of a systematic optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) around the tangent point position. The OKN slow phase direction does not match the local optic flow direction, while slow phase speed is about half of the local speed. Higher directional gains are observed when averaging the entire optical flow projected on the simulation display, whereas the best speed gain is obtained for a 2° optic flow area, centered on the instantaneous gaze location. The present study confirms that the tangent point is a privileged feature in the dynamic visual scene during curve driving, and underlines a contribution of the global optical flow to gaze behavior during active self-motion.
Sheena K Au-Yeung; Valerie Benson; Monica S Castelhano; Keith Rayner
In: Autism Research and Treatment, vol. 2011, pp. 1–7, 2011.
Minshew and Goldstein (1998) postulated that autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a disorder of complex information processing. The current study was designed to investigate this hypothesis. Participants with and without ASD completed two scene perception tasks: a simple “spot the difference” task, where they had to say which one of a pair of pictures had a detail missing, and a complex “which one's weird” task, where they had to decide which one of a pair of pictures looks “weird”. Participants with ASD did not differ from TD participants in their ability to accurately identify the target picture in both tasks. However, analysis of the eye movement sequences showed that participants with ASD viewed scenes differently from normal controls exclusively for the complex task. This difference in eye movement patterns, and the method used to examine different patterns, adds to the knowledge base regarding eye movements and ASD. Our results are in accordance with Minshew and Goldstein's theory that complex, but not simple, information processing is impaired in ASD.
Sheena K Au-Yeung; Johanna K Kaakinen; Valerie Benson
In: Autism Research, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 84–93, 2014.
The present study examined how eye movements during scene viewing are modulated by adopting psychological perspectives in both adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and typically developing adults. In the current study, participants viewed house scenes with either non-perspective-taking (look for valuable items/features of the house that need fixing) or perspective-taking instructions (imagine that you are a burglar/repairman) while their eye movements were recorded. The eye movement measures revealed that for the “look for the valuable items” and burglar perspective task, the ASD group showed typical relevance effects (the preference to look at schema-relevant compared with schema-irrelevant targets) in their eye movements. However, we found subtle processing differences between the groups that were related to initial orienting to and processing of schema-relevant items for the “look for the features that need fixing” and the repairman perspective-taking task. There was an absence of a relevance effect for the ASD group for the repairman perspective and its non-perspective-taking equivalent instruction showing that the identification of items relevant to those schemas was more difficult for the ASD group. The present findings suggest that resolving ambiguity may be a defining feature of complex information processing deficits in ASD.
Sheena K Au-Yeung; Johanna K Kaakinen; Simon P Liversedge; Valerie Benson
In: Autism Research, vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 749–760, 2015.
Previous research has suggested that individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have difficulties understanding others communicative intent and with using contextual information to correctly interpret irony. We recorded the eye movements of typically developing (TD) adults ASD adults when they read statements that could either be interpreted as ironic or non-ironic depending on the context of the passage. Participants with ASD performed as well as TD controls in their comprehension accuracy for speaker's statements in both ironic and non-ironic conditions. Eye movement data showed that for both participant groups, total reading times were longer for the critical region containing the speaker's statement and a subsequent sentence restating the context in the ironic condition compared to the non-ironic condition. The results suggest that more effortful processing is required in both ASD and TD participants for ironic compared with literal non-ironic statements, and that individuals with ASD were able to use contextual information to infer a non-literal interpretation of ironic text. Individuals with ASD, however, spent more time overall than TD controls rereading the passages, to a similar degree across both ironic and non-ironic conditions, suggesting that they either take longer to construct a coherent discourse representation of the text, or that they take longer to make the decision that their representation of the text is reasonable based on their knowledge of the world.
Eric Avila; Josef N van der Geest; Sandra Kengne Kamga; Claire M Verhage; Opher Donchin; Maarten A Frens
In: Neural Plasticity, vol. 2015, pp. 1–9, 2015.
Saccade adaptation is a cerebellar-mediated type of motor learning in which the oculomotor system is exposed to repetitive errors. Different types of saccade adaptations are thought to involve distinct underlying cerebellar mechanisms. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) induces changes in neuronal excitability in a polarity-specific manner and offers a modulatory, noninvasive, functional insight into the learning aspects of different brain regions. We aimed to modulate the cerebellar influence on saccade gains during adaptation using tDCS. Subjects performed an inward (n = 10) or outward (n = 10) saccade adaptation experiment (25% intrasaccadic target step) while receiving 1.5 mA of anodal cerebellar tDCS delivered by a small contact electrode. Compared to sham stimulation, tDCS increased learning of saccadic inward adaptation but did not affect learning of outward adaptation. This may imply that plasticity mechanisms in the cerebellum are different between inward and outward adaptation. TDCS could have influenced specific cerebellar areas that contribute to inward but not outward adaptation. We conclude that tDCS can be used as a neuromodulatory technique to alter cerebellar oculomotor output, arguably by engaging wider cerebellar areas and increasing the available resources for learning.
Inbar Avni; Gal Meiri; Asif Bar-Sinai; Doron Reboh; Liora Manelis; Hagit Flusser; Analya Michaelovski; Idan Menashe; Ilan Dinstein
In: Autism Research, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. 935–946, 2020.
Previous eye-tracking studies have reported that children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) fixate less on faces in comparison to controls. To properly understand social interactions, however, children must gaze not only at faces but also at actions, gestures, body movements, contextual details, and objects, thereby creating specific gaze patterns when observing specific social interactions. We presented three different movies with social interactions to 111 children (71 with ASD) who watched each of the movies twice. Typically developing children viewed the movies in a remarkably predictable and reproducible manner, exhibiting gaze patterns that were similar to the mean gaze pattern of other controls, with strong correlations across individuals (intersubject correlations) and across movie presentations (intra-subject correlations). In contrast, children with ASD exhibited significantly more variable/idiosyncratic gaze patterns that differed from the mean gaze pattern of controls and were weakly correlated across individuals and presentations. Most importantly, quantification of gaze idiosyncrasy in individual children enabled separation of ASD and control children with higher sensitivity and specificity than traditional measures such as time gazing at faces. Individual magnitudes of gaze idiosyncrasy were also significantly correlated with ASD severity and cognitive scores and were significantly correlated across movies and movie presentations, demonstrating clinical sensitivity and reliability. These results suggest that gaze idiosyncrasy is a potent behavioral abnormality that characterizes a considerable number of children with ASD and may contribute to their impaired development. Quantification of gaze idiosyncrasy in individual children may aid in assessing symptom severity and their change in response to treatments. Autism Res 2020, 13: 935-946. textcopyright 2019 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Lay Summary: Typically, developing children watch movies of social interactions in a reliable and predictable manner, attending faces, gestures, actions, body movements, and objects that are relevant to the social interaction and its narrative. Here, we demonstrate that children with ASD watch such movies with significantly more variable/idiosyncratic gaze patterns that differ across individuals and across movie presentations. We demonstrate that quantifying this gaze variability may aid in identifying children with ASD and in determining the severity of their symptoms.
Naila Ayala; Matthew Heath
In: Journal of Neurotrauma, vol. 37, pp. 2558–2568, 2020.
A sport-related concussion (SRC) results in short- and long-term deficits in oculomotor control; however, it is unclear whether this change reflects executive dysfunction and/or a performance decrement due to an increase in task-based symptom burden. Here, individuals with a SRC - and age- and sex-matched controls - completed an antisaccade task (i.e., saccade mirror-symmetrical to a target) during the early (initial assessment: textless=12 days) and later (follow-up assessment: textless 30 days) stages of recovery. Antisaccades were used because they require top-down executive control and exhibit performance decrements following a SRC. Reaction time (RT) and directional errors were included with pupillometry because pupil size in the antisaccade task has been shown to provide a neural proxy for executive control. In addition, the Sport-Concussion Assessment Tool (SCAT-5) symptom checklist was completed prior to and after each oculomotor assessment to identify a possible task-based increase in symptomology. The SRC group yielded longer initial assessment RTs, more directional errors and larger task-evoked pupil dilations (TEPD) than the control group. At the follow-up assessment, RTs for the SRC and control group did not reliably differ; however, the former demonstrated more directional errors and larger TEPDs. SCAT-5 symptom severity scores did not vary from the pre- to post-oculomotor evaluation for either initial or follow-up assessments. Accordingly, a SRC imparts a persistent executive dysfunction to oculomotor planning independent of a task-based increase in symptom burden. These findings evince that antisaccades serve as an effective tool to identify subtle executive deficits during the early and later stages of SRC recovery.
Naila Ayala; Ewa Niechwiej-Szwedo
In: Experimental Brain Research, pp. 1–11, 2020.
Eye movements have been used extensively to assess information processing and cognitive function. However, significant variability in saccade performance has been observed, which could arise from methodological variations across different studies. For example, prosaccades and antisaccades have been studied using either a blocked or interleaved design, which has a significant influence on error rates and latency. This is problematic as it makes it difficult to compare saccade performance across studies and may limit the ability to use saccades as a behavioural assay to assess neurocognitive function. Thus, the current study examined how administration mode influences saccade related preparatory activity by employing pupil size as a non-invasive proxy for neural activity related to saccade planning and execution. Saccade performance and pupil dynamics were examined in eleven participants as they completed pro- and antisaccades in blocked and interleaved paradigms. Results showed that administration mode significantly modulated saccade performance and preparatory activity. Reaction times were longer for both pro- and antisaccades in the interleaved condition, compared to the blocked condition (p textless 0.05). Prosaccade pupil dilations were larger in the interleaved condition (p textless 0.05), while antisaccade pupil dilations did not significantly differ between administration modes. Additionally, ROC analysis provided preliminary evidence that pupil size can effectively predict saccade directional errors prior to saccade onset. We propose that task-evoked pupil dilations reflect an increase in preparatory activity for prosaccades and the corresponding cognitive demands associated with interleaved administration mode. Overall, the results highlight the importance that administration mode plays in the design of neurocognitive tasks.
Reza Azadi; Mark R Harwood
Visual cues that are effective for contextual saccade adaptation Journal Article
In: Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 111, no. 11, pp. 2307–2319, 2014.
The accuracy of saccades, as maintained by saccade adaptation, has been shown to be context dependent: able to have different amplitude movements to the same retinal displacement dependent on motor contexts such as orbital starting location. There is conflicting evidence as to whether purely visual cues also effect contextual saccade adaptation and, if so, what function this might serve. We tested what visual cues might evoke contextual adaptation. Over 5 experiments, 78 naive subjects made saccades to circularly moving targets, which stepped outward or inward during the saccade depending on target movement direction, speed, or color and shape. To test if the movement or context postsaccade were critical, we stopped the postsaccade target motion ( experiment 4 ) or neutralized the contexts by equating postsaccade target speed to an intermediate value ( experiment 5 ). We found contextual adaptation in all conditions except those defined by color and shape. We conclude that some, but not all, visual cues before the saccade are sufficient for contextual adaptation. We conjecture that this visual contextuality functions to allow for different motor states for different coordinated movement patterns, such as coordinated saccade and pursuit motor planning.
Bobby Azarian; Elizabeth G Esser; Matthew S Peterson
Evidence from the eyes: Threatening postures hold attention Journal Article
In: Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, vol. 23, no. 3, pp. 764–770, 2016.
Efficient detection of threat provides obvious survival advantages and has resulted in a fast and accurate threatdetection system. Although beneficial under normal circumstances, this system may become hypersensitive and cause threat-processing abnormalities. Past research has shown that anxious individuals have difficulty disengaging attention from threatening faces, but it is unknown whether other forms of threatening social stimuli also influence attentional orienting. Much like faces, human body postures are salient social stimuli, because they are informative of one's emotional state and next likely action. Additionally, postures can convey such information in situations in which another's facial expression is not easily visible. Here we investigated whether there is a threat-specific effect for high-anxious individuals, by measuring the time that it takes the eyes to leave the attended stimulus, a task-irrelevant body posture. The results showed that relative to nonthreating postures, threat-related postures hold attention in anxious individuals, providing further evidence of an anxiety-related attentional bias for threatening information. This is the first study to demonstrate that attentional disengagement from threatening postures is affected by emotional valence in those reporting anxiety.
Benjamin T Backus; Daniel Matza-Brown
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 3, no. 11, pp. 727–750, 2003.
The relative disparity between two objects in a scene can in principle be measured directly from the retinal images, without knowledge of eye position. But relative disparity increment thresholds are lowest when the relative disparity is small and the objects are not widely separated in the visual field: thus, some relative disparities are easier for the visual system to measure than others. We consider, after others, a second method by which the visual system could measure relative disparity, based on change in vergence ("delta vergence" or DV). The DV mechanism could be more reliable than the retinal mechanism when visual targets are widely separated in visual direction or depth. We used a cue-conflict paradigm to measure the extent to which perceived depth depends on DV. As target separation increased, so did reliance on DV. As intertarget disparity increased, reliance on DV increased for one observer but not for two others.
Stephen P Badham; Claire V Hutchinson
In: Graefe's Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, vol. 251, no. 12, pp. 2769–2776, 2013.
BACKGROUND: People who suffer from myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) often report that their eye movements are sluggish and that they have difficulties tracking moving objects. However, descriptions of these visual problems are based solely on patients' self-reports of their subjective visual experiences, and there is a distinct lack of empirical evidence to objectively verify their claims. This paper presents the first experimental research to objectively examine eye movements in those suffering from ME/CFS. METHODS: Patients were assessed for ME/CFS symptoms and were compared to age, gender, and education matched controls for their ability to generate saccades and smooth pursuit eye movements. RESULTS: Patients and controls exhibited similar error rates and saccade latencies (response times) on prosaccade and antisaccade tasks. Patients showed relatively intact ability to accurately fixate the target (prosaccades), but were impaired when required to focus accurately in a specific position opposite the target (antisaccades). Patients were most markedly impaired when required to direct their gaze as closely as possible to a smoothly moving target (smooth pursuit). CONCLUSIONS: It is hypothesised that the effects of ME/CFS can be overcome briefly for completion of saccades, but that continuous pursuit activity (accurately tracking a moving object), even for a short time period, highlights dysfunctional eye movement behaviour in ME/CFS patients. Future smooth pursuit research may elucidate and improve diagnosis of ME/CFS.
Jeremy B Badler; Philippe Lefèvre; Marcus Missal
Anticipatory pursuit is influenced by a concurrent timing task Journal Article
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 8, no. 16, pp. 1–9, 2008.
The ability to predict upcoming events is important to compensate for relatively long sensory-motor delays. When stimuli are temporally regular, their prediction depends on a representation of elapsed time. However, it is well known that the allocation of attention to the timing of an upcoming event alters this representation. The role of attention on the temporal processing component of prediction was investigated in a visual smooth pursuit task that was performed either in isolation or concurrently with a manual response task. Subjects used smooth pursuit eye movements to accurately track a moving target after a constant-duration delay interval. In the manual response task, subjects had to estimate the instant of target motion onset by pressing a button. The onset of anticipatory pursuit eye movements was used to quantify the subject's estimate of elapsed time. We found that onset times were delayed significantly in the presence of the concurrent manual task relative to the pursuit task in isolation. There was also a correlation between the oculomotor and manual response latencies. In the framework of Scalar Timing Theory, the results are consistent with a centralized attentional gating mechanism that allocates clock resources between smooth pursuit preparation and the parallel timing task.
Jeremy B Badler; Scott N J Watamaniuk; Stephen J Heinen
In: Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 122, no. 5, pp. 1981–1988, 2019.
Smooth pursuit is punctuated by catch-up saccades, which are thought to automatically correct sensory errors in retinal position and velocity. Recent studies have shown that the timing of catch-up saccades is susceptible to cognitive modulation, as is the timing of fixational microsaccades. Are the timing of catchup and microsaccades thus modulated by the same mechanism? Here, we test directly whether pursuit catch-up saccades and fixational microsaccades exhibit the same temporal pattern of task-related bursts and subsidence. Observers pursued a linear array of 15 alphanumeric characters that translated across the screen and simultaneously performed a character identification task on it. At a fixed time, a cue briefly surrounded the central element to specify it as the pursuit target. After a random delay, a probe (E or 3) appeared briefly at a randomly selected character location, and observers identified it. For comparison, a fixation condition was also tested with trial parameters identical to the pursuit condition, except that the array remained stationary. We found that during both pursuit and fixation tasks, saccades paused after the cue and then rebounded as expected but also subsided in anticipation of the task. The time courses of the reactive pause, rebound, and anticipatory subsidence were similar, and idiosyncratic subject behavior was consistent across pursuit and fixation. The results provide evidence for a common mechanism of saccade control during pursuit and fixation, which is predictive as well as reactive and has an identifiable temporal signature in individual observers.
Shahab Bakhtiari; Ayca Altinkaya; Christopher C Pack; Abbas F Sadikot
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 10, pp. 1–11, 2020.
Inhibiting inappropriate actions in a context is an important part of the human cognitive repertoire, and deficiencies in this ability are common in neurological and psychiatric disorders. An anti-saccade is a simple oculomotor task that tests this ability by requiring inhibition of saccades to peripheral targets (pro-saccade) and producing voluntary eye movements toward the mirror position (anti-saccades). Previous studies provide evidence for a possible contribution from the basal ganglia in anti-saccade behavior, but the precise role of different components is still unclear. Parkinson's disease patients with implanted deep brain stimulators (DBS) in subthalamic nucleus (STN) provide a unique opportunity to investigate the role of the STN in anti-saccade behavior. Previous attempts to show the effect of STN DBS on anti-saccades have produced conflicting observations. For example, the effect of STN DBS on anti-saccade error rate is not yet clear. Part of this inconsistency may be related to differences in dopaminergic states in different studies. Here, we tested Parkinson's disease patients on anti- and pro-saccade tasks ON and OFF STN DBS, in ON and OFF dopaminergic medication states. First, STN DBS increases anti-saccade error rate while patients are OFF dopamine replacement therapy. Second, dopamine replacement therapy and STN DBS interact: L-dopa reduces the effect of STN DBS on anti-saccade error rate. Third, STN DBS induces different effects on pro- and anti-saccades in different patients. These observations provide evidence for an important role for the STN in the circuitry underlying context-dependent modulation of visuomotor action selection.
Rodrigo Balp; Florian Waszak; Thérèse Collins
In: Attention, Perception, and Psychophysics, vol. 81, pp. 98–108, 2019.
Saccadic eye movements cause displacements of the image of the visual world projected on the retina. Despite the ubiquitous nature of saccades, subjective experience of the world is continuous and stable. In five experiments, we addressed the mechanisms that may support visual stability: matching of pre- and postsaccadic locations of the target by an internal copy of the saccade, or retention of the visual attributes of the target in short-term memory across the saccade. Healthy human adults were instructed to make a saccade to a peripheral Gabor patch. While the saccade was in midflight, the patch could change location, orientation, or both. The change occurred either immediately or following a 250-ms blank during which no visual stimuli were available. In separate experiments, subjects had to report either whether the patch stepped to the left or right or whether the orientation rotated clockwise or counterclockwise. Consistent with previous findings, we found that transsaccadic displacement discrimination was enhanced by the addition of the blank. However, contrary to previous findings reported in the literature, the feature change did not improve performance. Transsaccadic orientation change discrimination did not depend on either an irrelevant temporal blank or a simultaneous irrelevant target displacement. Taken together, these findings suggest that orientation is not a relevant visual feature for transsaccadic correspondence.
T Balsdon; Richard Schweitzer; Tamara L Watson; Martin Rolfs
In: Consciousness and Cognition, vol. 64, pp. 19–31, 2018.
Saccades rapidly jerk the eye into new positions, yet we rarely experience the motion streaks imposed on the retinal image. Here we examined spatial and temporal properties of post-saccadic masking—one potential explanation of this perceptual omission. Observers judged the motion direction of a target stimulus, a Gaussian blob, that moved vertically upwards or downwards and then back to its initial position, just as observers made a saccade. We manipulated the onset and offset of the target and of distractors in various spatial relations to the target, and assessed their effect on performance and subjective confidence. Although the presence of the target after the saccade caused the strongest omission, the offset of spatially distant distractor stimuli upon saccade offset also impaired performance. The temporal properties of these two separate effects suggest that, in addition to masking, an independent effect of attentional distraction further accentuates perceptual omission of intra-saccadic motion streaks.
Daniela Balslev; Bartholomäus Odoj; Hans-Otto Karnath
Role of somatosensory cortex in visuospatial attention Journal Article
In: Journal of Neuroscience, vol. 33, no. 46, pp. 18311–18318, 2013.
The human somatosensory cortex (S1) is not among the brain areas usually associated with visuospatial attention. However, such a function can be presumed, given the recently identified eye proprioceptive input to S1 and the established links between gaze and attention. Here we investigated a rare patient with a focal lesion of the right postcentral gyrus that interferes with the processing of eye proprioception without affecting the ability to locate visual objects relative to her body or to execute eye movements. As a behavioral measure of spatial attention, we recorded fixation time during visual search and reaction time for visual discrimination in lateral displays. In contrast to a group of age-matched controls, the patient showed a gradient in looking time and in visual sensitivity toward the midline. Because an attention bias in the opposite direction, toward the ipsilesional space, occurs in patients with spatial neglect, in a second study, we asked whether the incidental coinjury of S1 together with the neglect-typical perisylvian lesion leads to a milder neglect. A voxelwise lesion behavior mapping analysis of a group of right-hemisphere stroke patients supported this hypothesis. The effect of an isolated S1 lesion on visual exploration and visual sensitivity as well as the modulatory role of S1 in spatial neglect suggest a role of this area in visuospatial attention. We hypothesize that the proprioceptive gaze signal in S1, although playing only a minor role in locating visual objects relative to the body, affects the allocation of attention in the visual space.
Daniela Balslev; Bartholomäus Odoj
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 131, pp. 119–128, 2019.
A contribution of the gaze signals to the attention imbalance in spatial neglect is presumed. Direct evidence however, is still lacking. Theoretical models for spatial attention posit an internal representation of locations that are selected in the competition for neural processing resources – an attentional priority map. Following up on our recent research showing an imbalance in the allocation of attention after an oculoproprioceptive perturbation in healthy volunteers, we investigated here whether the lesion in spatial neglect distorts the gaze direction input to this representation. Information about one's own direction of gaze is critical for the coordinate transformation between retinotopic and hand proprioceptive locations. To assess the gaze direction input to the attentional priority map, patients with left spatial neglect performed a cross-modal attention task in their normal, right hemispace. They discriminated visual targets whose location was cued by the patient's right index finger hidden from view. The locus of attention in response to the cue was defined as the location with the largest decrease in reaction time for visual discrimination in the presence vs. absence of the cue. In two control groups consisting of healthy elderly and patients with a right hemisphere lesion without neglect, the loci of attention were at the exact location of the cues. In contrast, neglect patients allocated attention at 0.5⁰-2⁰ rightward of the finger for all tested locations. A control task using reaching to visual targets in the absence of visual hand feedback ruled out a general error in visual localization. These findings demonstrate that in spatial neglect the gaze direction input to the attentional priority map is distorted. This observation supports the emerging view that attention and gaze are coupled and suggests that interventions that target gaze signals could alleviate spatial neglect.
Chiara Banfi; Ferenc Kemény; Melanie Gangl; Gerd Schulte-Körne; Kristina Moll; Karin Landerl
In: PLoS ONE, vol. 13, no. 6, pp. e0198903, 2018.
An impairment in the visual attention span (VAS) has been suggested to hamper reading performance of individuals with dyslexia. It is not clear, however, if the very nature of the deficit is visual or verbal and, importantly, if it affects spelling skills as well. The current study investigated VAS by means of forced choice tasks with letters and symbols in a sample of third and fourth graders with age-adequate reading and spelling skills (n= 43), a typical dyslexia profile with combined reading and spelling deficits (n= 26) and isolated spelling deficits (n= 32). The task was devised to contain low phonological short-term memory load and to overcome the limitations of oral reports. Notably, eye-movements were monitored to control that children fixated the center of the display when stimuli were presented. Results yielded no main effect of group as well as no group-related interactions, thus showing that children with dyslexia and isolated spelling deficits did not manifest a VAS deficit for letters or symbols once certain methodological aspects were controlled for. The present results could not replicate previous evidence for the involvement of VAS in reading and dyslexia.
A Banner; Shai Gabay; S Shamay-Tsoory
In: Psychoneuroendocrinology, vol. 102, pp. 9–15, 2019.
Socially anxious individuals show increased sensitivity toward social threat signals, including cues of dominance. This sensitivity may account for the hypervigilance and gaze avoidance commonly reported in individuals with social anxiety. This study examines visual scanning behavior in response to androstadienone (androsta-4,16,-dien-3-one), a putative chemosignal of dominance. We tested whether exposure to androstadienone would increase hypervigilance and gaze avoidance among individuals with high social anxiety. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, within-subject design, 26 participants with high social anxiety and 26 with low social anxiety were exposed to androstadienone and a control solution on two separate days. On each day, an eye-tracker recorded their spontaneous scanning behavior while they viewed facial images of men depicting dominant and neutral poses. The results indicate that among participants with high social anxiety, androstadienone increased gaze avoidance by reducing the percentage of fixations made to the eye-region and the total amount of time spent gazing at the eye-region of the faces. Participants with low social anxiety did not show this effect. These findings indicate that androstadienone serves as a threatening chemosignal of dominance, further supporting the link between hypersensitivity toward social threat cues and the perpetuation of social anxiety.
Sonia Bansal; Laurence C Jayet Bray; Matthew S Peterson; Wilsaan M Joiner
In: Journal of Neurophysiology, vol. 113, no. 9, pp. 3312–3322, 2015.
The effect of saccade metrics on the corollary discharge contribution to per- ceived eye location. J Neurophysiol 113: 3312–3322, 2015. First published March 11, 2015; doi:10.1152/jn.00771.2014.—Corollary discharge (CD) is hypothesized to provide the movement information (direction and amplitude) required to compensate for the saccade- induced disruptions to visual input. Here, we investigated to what extent these conveyed metrics influence perceptual stability in human subjects with a target-displacement detection task. Subjects made saccades to targets located at different amplitudes (4°, 6°, or 8°) and directions (horizontal or vertical). During the saccade, the target disappeared and then reappeared at a shifted location either in the same direction or opposite to the movement vector. Subjects reported the target displacement direction, and from these reports we deter- mined the perceptual threshold for shift detection and estimate of target location. Our results indicate that the thresholds for all ampli- tudes and directions generally scaled with saccade amplitude. Addi- tionally, subjects on average produced hypometric saccades with an estimated CD gain ⬍1. Finally, we examined the contribution of different error signals to perceptual performance, the saccade error (movement-to-movement variability in saccade amplitude) and visual error (distance between the fovea and the shifted target location). Perceptual judgment was not influenced by the fluctuations in move- ment amplitude, and performance was largely the same across move- ment directions for different magnitudes of visual error. Importantly, subjects reported the correct direction of target displacement above chance level for very small visual errors (⬍0.75°), even when these errors were opposite the target-shift direction. Collectively, these results suggest that the CD-based compensatory mechanisms for visual disruptions are highly accurate and comparable for saccades with different metrics.
Sonia Bansal; Gi Yeul Bae; Kyle Frankovich; Benjamin M Robinson; Carly J Leonard; James M Gold; Steven J Luck
In: Journal of Abnormal Psychology, vol. 129, no. 8, pp. 845–857, 2020.
Computational neuroscience models propose that working memory (WM) involves recurrent excitatory feedback loops that maintain firing over time along with lateral inhibition that prevents the spreading of activity to other feature values. In behavioral paradigms, this lateral inhibition appears to cause a repulsion of WM representations away from each other and from other strong sources of input. Recent computational models of schizophrenia have proposed that reduction in the strength of inhibition relative to strength of excitation may underlie impaired cognition, and this leads to the prediction that repulsion effects should be reduced in people with schizophrenia spectrum disorders (PSZ) relative to healthy control subjects (HCS). We tested this hypothesis in 2 experiments measuring WM repulsion effects. In Experiment 1, 45 PSZ and 32 HCS remembered the location of a single object relative to a centrally presented visual landmark and reported this location after a short delay. The reported location was repelled away from the landmark in both groups, but this repulsion effect was increased rather than decreased in PSZ relative to HCS. In Experiment 2, 41 PSZ and 34 HCS remembered 2 sequentially presented orientations and reported each orientation after a short delay. The reported orientations were biased away from each other in both groups, and this repulsion effect was again more pronounced in PSZ than in HCS. Contrary to the widespread hypothesis of reduced inhibition in schizophrenia, we provide robust evidence from 2 experiments showing that the behavioral performance of PSZ exhibited an exaggeration rather than a reduction of competitive inhibition.
Carol J Y Bao; Cristina Rubino; Alisdair J G Taylor; Jason J S Barton
In: Neuropsychologia, vol. 70, pp. 156–164, 2015.
Pure alexia is characterized by an increased word-length effect in reading. However, this disorder is usually accompanied by right homonymous hemianopia, which itself can cause a mildly increased word-length effect. Some alexic studies have used hemianopic patients with modest word-length effects: it is not clear (a) whether they had pure alexia and (b) if not, whether their results could be explained by the field defect. Our goal was to determine if impairments in visual processing claimed to be related to alexia could be replicated in homonymous hemianopia alone. Twelve healthy subjects performed five experiments used in two prior studies of alexia, under both normal and simulated hemianopic conditions, using a gaze-contingent display generated by an eye-tracker. We replicated the increased word-length effect for reading time with right homonymous hemianopia, and showed a similar effect for a lexical decision task. Simulated hemianopia impaired scanning accuracy for letter or number strings, and slowed object part processing, though the effect of configuration was not greater under hemianopic viewing. Hemianopia impaired the identification of words whose letters appeared and disappeared sequentially on the screen, with better performance on a cumulative presentation in which the letters remained on the screen. The reporting of trigrams was less accurate with hemianopia, though syllabic structure did not influence the results. We conclude that some impairments that have been attributed to the processing defects underlying alexia may actually be due to right homonymous hemianopia. Our results underline the importance of considering the contribution of accompanying low-level visual impairments when studying high-level processes.
Pinglei Bao; Christopher J Purington; Bosco S Tjan
In: eLife, vol. 4, no. NOVEMBER2015, pp. 1–21, 2015.
Achiasma in humans causes gross mis-wiring of the retinal-fugal projection, resulting in overlapped cortical representations of left and right visual hemifields. We show that in areas V1-V3 this overlap is due to two co-located but non-interacting populations of neurons, each with a receptive field serving only one hemifield. Importantly, the two populations share the same local vascular control, resulting in a unique organization useful for quantifying the relationship between neural and fMRI BOLD responses without direct measurement of neural activity. Specifically, we can non-invasively double local neural responses by stimulating both neuronal populations with identical stimuli presented symmetrically across the vertical meridian to both visual hemifields, versus one population by stimulating in one hemifield. Measurements from a series of such doubling experiments show that the amplitude of BOLD response is proportional to approximately 0.5 power of the underlying neural response. Reanalyzing published data shows that this inferred relationship is general.
Bengi Baran; David Correll; Tessa C Vuper; Alexandra Morgan; Simon J Durrant; Dara S Manoach; Robert Stickgold
In: Schizophrenia Research, vol. 199, pp. 83–89, 2018.
Objective: Cognitive deficits in schizophrenia are the strongest predictor of disability and effective treatment is lacking. This reflects our limited mechanistic understanding and consequent lack of treatment targets. In schizophrenia, impaired sleep-dependent memory consolidation correlates with reduced sleep spindle activity, suggesting sleep spindles as a potentially treatable mechanism. In the present study we investigated whether sleep-dependent memory consolidation deficits in schizophrenia are selective. Methods: Schizophrenia patients and healthy individuals performed three tasks that have been shownto undergo sleep-dependent consolidation: the Word Pair Task (verbal declarative memory), the Visual Discrimination Task (visuoperceptual procedural memory), and the Tone Task (statistical learning). Memory consolidation was tested 24 h later, after a night of sleep. Results: Compared with controls, schizophrenia patients showed reduced overnight consolidation ofword pair learning. In contrast, both groups showed similar significant overnight consolidation of visuoperceptual procedural memory. Neither group showed overnight consolidation of statistical learning. Conclusion: The present findings extend the known deficits in sleep-dependent memory consolidation in schizophrenia to verbal declarative memory, a core, disabling cognitive deficit. In contrast, visuoperceptual procedural memorywas spared. These findings support the hypothesis that sleep-dependent memory consolidation deficits in schizophrenia are selective, possibly limited to tasks that rely on spindles. These findings reinforce the importance ofdeficient sleep-dependent memory consolidation among the cognitive deficits ofschizophrenia and suggest sleep physiology as a potentially treatable mechanism.
Joseph R Bardeen; Thomas A Daniel; Robert D Gordon; Benjamin J Hinnant; Frank W Weathers
Individual differences in attentional control explain the differential expression of threat-related attentional bias among those with posttraumatic stress symptomatology and predict symptom maintenance up to one year later Journal Article
In: Behaviour Research and Therapy, vol. 133, pp. 1–10, 2020.
Individual differences in attentional control may explain null findings and inconsistent patterns of threat-related attentional bias (ABT) that are common in the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) literature. At Time 1 (T1), trauma-exposed community participants (N = 89) completed a clinical interview, self-report measures, and an eye-tracking task developed to assess ABT. Participants completed follow-up assessments online 6 (T2) and 12 (T3) months later. Those with higher PTSD symptoms and deficits in attentional control exhibited a pattern of undercontrol, characterized by attention maintenance on threat and increased arousal. In contrast, those with higher PTSD symptoms and relatively better attentional control exhibited a pattern of overcontrol, characterized by threat avoidance and reduced arousal. These effects were specific to threat stimuli. Among PTSD symptom clusters, symptoms of hyperarousal were of central importance to the observed effects. Results from the longitudinal analysis indicate that both of these patterns of ABT are maladaptive, resulting in symptom maintenance at T2 and T3. These results have implications for (a) reconciling tensions between disparate models of ABT (i.e., vigilance-avoidance vs. attention maintenance), (b) precision medicine based approaches to targeting PTSD-related ABT, and (c) understanding the transdiagnostic role that attentional control may play in influencing ABT expression.
Niraj Barot; Rebecca J McLean; Irene Gottlob; Frank A Proudlock
Reading performance in infantile nystagmus Journal Article
In: Ophthalmology, vol. 120, no. 6, pp. 1232–1238, 2013.
Objective: To characterize reading deficits in infantile nystagmus (IN), to determine optimal font sizes for reading in IN, and to investigate whether visual acuity (VA) and severity of nystagmus are good indicators of reading performance in IN. Design: Prospective cross-sectional study. Participants and Controls: Seventy-one participants with IN (37 idiopathic, 34 with albinism) and 20 age-matched controls. Methods: Reading performance was assessed using Radner reading charts and was compared with near logarithm of the minimum angle of resolution (logMAR) VA, nystagmus intensity, and foveation characteristics as quantified using eye movement recordings. Main Outcome Measures: Reading acuity (smallest readable font size), maximum reading speed, critical print size (font size below which reading is suboptimal), near logMAR VA, nystagmus intensity, and foveation characteristics (using the eXpanded Nystagmus Acuity Function). Results: Using optimal reading conditions, maximum reading speeds were 18.8% slower in albinism and 14.7% slower in idiopathic IN patients compared with controls. Reading acuities were significantly worse (Ptextless0.001) in IN patients compared with controls. Also, the range of font sizes over which reading speeds were less than the optimum were much larger in IN patients compared with controls (Ptextless0.001). Reading acuity was correlated strongly to near VA (r2= 0.74 albinism
Maria J Barraza-Bernal; Katharina Rifai; Siegfried Wahl
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 17, no. 2, pp. 1–13, 2017.
Patients with central vision loss obtain visual information by fixating on an object eccentrically with a preferred retinal locus of fixation (PRL). Patients do not always choose the most efficient PRL position, and as a consequence, visual performance is not always fully exploited. This study investigates whether PRLs can be induced by applying systematic stimulus relocations. The PRL was trained using a central scotoma simulation in 15 healthy subjects. They performed different visual tasks during four sessions, after which their reading performance was evaluated. In five subjects the stimulus was relocated to the left hemifield whenever a saccade would place the stimulus on the opposite hemifield. In five different subjects the relocation was inversed: The stimulus was located in the right hemifield. The relocation was 7.5° of visual angle and it was applied horizontally. Five additional subjects naturally chose the PRL location. They were used as the control group to evaluate the development of a PRL. After training, subjects performed visual search tasks on static stimuli. Evaluation after training showed that systematic stimulus relocations can be used to influence the development of the PRL. These results might be significant for the development of training strategies for the visually impaired.
Maria J Barraza-Bernal; Katharina Rifai; Siegfried Wahl
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 17, no. 14, pp. 2, 2017.
Subjects develop a preferred retinal locus of fixation (PRL) under simulation of central scotoma. If systematic relocations are applied to the stimulus position, PRLs manifest at a location in favor of the stimulus relocation. The present study investigates whether the induced PRL is transferred to important visual tasks in daily life, namely pursuit eye movements, signage reading, and text reading. Fifteen subjects with normal sight participated in the study. To develop a PRL, all subjects underwent a scotoma simulation in a prior study, where five subjects were trained to develop the PRL in the left hemifield, five different subjects on the right hemifield, and the remaining five subjects could naturally chose the PRL location. The position of this PRL was used as baseline. Under central scotoma simulation, subjects performed a pursuit task, a signage reading task, and a reading-text task. In addition, retention of the behavior was also studied. Results showed that the PRL position was transferred to the pursuit task and that the vertical location of the PRL was maintained on the text reading task. However, when reading signage, a function-driven change in PRL location was observed. In addition, retention of the PRL position was observed over weeks and months. These results indicate that PRL positions can be induced and may further transferred to everyday life visual tasks, without hindering function-driven changes in PRL position.
Maria J Barraza-Bernal; Katharina Rifai; Siegfried Wahl
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 1–12, 2018.
Patients with central scotoma use a preferred retinal locus (PRL) of fixation to perform visual tasks. Some of the conditions that cause central scotoma are progressive, and as a consequence, the PRL needs to be adjusted throughout the progression. The present study investigates the peripheral locus of fixation in subjects under a simulation of progressive central scotoma. Five normally sighted subjects participated in the study. A foveally centered mask of varying size was presented to simulate the scotoma. Initially, subjects developed a peripheral locus of fixation under simulation of a 68 scotoma, which was used as a baseline. The progression was simulated in two separate conditions: a gradual progression and an abrupt progression. In the gradual progression, the diameter of the scotoma increased by a fixed amount of either 18 or 28 of visual angle, thus scotomas of 88, 108, and 118 of visual angle were simulated. In the abrupt progression, the diameter was adjusted individually to span the area of the visual field used by the current peripheral locus of fixation. Subjects located the peripheral locus of fixation along the same meridian under simulation of scotoma progression. Furthermore, no differences between the fixation stability of the baseline locus of fixation and the incremental progression locus of fixation were found whereas, in abrupt progression, the fixation stability decreased significantly. These results provide first insight into fixation behavior in a progressive scotoma and may contribute to the development of training tools for patients with progressive central maculopathies.
Brendan T Barrett; Alice G Cruickshank; Jonathan C Flavell; Simon J Bennett; John G Buckley; Julie M Harris; Andrew J Scally
In: Scientific Reports, vol. 10, pp. 1–9, 2020.
The issue of whether visually-mediated, simple reaction time (VRT) is faster in elite athletes is contentious. Here, we examined if and how VRT is affected by gaze stability in groups of international cricketers (16 females, 28 males), professional rugby-league players (21 males), and non-sporting controls (20 females, 30 males). VRT was recorded via a button-press response to the sudden appearance of a stimulus (circular target—diameter 0.8°), that was presented centrally, or 7.5° to the left or right of fixation. The incidence and timing of saccades and blinks occurring from 450 ms before stimulus onset to 225 ms after onset were measured to quantify gaze stability. Our results show that (1) cricketers have faster VRT than controls; (2) blinks and, in particular, saccades are associated with slower VRT regardless of the level of sporting ability; (3) elite female cricketers had steadier gaze (fewer saccades and blinks) compared to female controls; (4) when we accounted for the presence of blinks and saccades, our group comparisons of VRT were virtually unchanged. The stability of gaze is not a factor that explains the difference between elite and control groups in VRT. Thus we conclude that better gaze stability cannot explain faster VRT in elite sports players.
Pablo A Barrionuevo; Nathaniel Nicandro; Jason J McAnany; Andrew J Zele; Paul Gamlin; Dingcai Cao
In: Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science, vol. 55, no. 2, pp. 719–727, 2014.
PURPOSE: We determined the relative contributions of rods, cones, and melanopsin to pupil responses in humans using temporal sinusoidal stimulation for light levels spanning the low mesopic to photopic range. METHODS: A four-primary Ganzfeld photostimulator controlled flicker stimulations at seven light levels (-2.7 to 2 log cd/m(2)) and five frequencies (0.5-8 Hz). Pupil diameter was measured using a high-resolution eye tracker. Three kinds of sinusoidal photoreceptor modulations were generated using silent substitution: rod modulation, cone modulation, and combined rod and cone modulation in phase (experiment 1) or cone phase shifted (experiment 2) from a fixed rod phase. The melanopsin excitation was computed for each condition. A vector sum model was used to estimate the relative contribution of rods, cones, and melanopsin to the pupil response. RESULTS: From experiment 1, the pupil frequency response peaked at 1 Hz at two mesopic light levels for the three modulation conditions. Analyzing the rod-cone phase difference for the combined modulations (experiment 2) identified a V-shaped response amplitude with a minimum between 135° and 180°. The pupil response phases increased as cone modulation phase increased. The pupil amplitude increased with increasing light level for cone, and combined (in-phase rod and cone) modulation, but not for the rod modulation. CONCLUSIONS: These results demonstrate that cone- and rod-pathway contributions are more predominant than melanopsin contribution to the phasic pupil response. The combined rod, cone, and melanopsin inputs to the phasic state of the pupil light reflex follow linear summation.
Pablo A Barrionuevo; Dingcai Cao
In: Journal of Vision, vol. 16, no. 11, pp. 29, 2016.
Intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs) express the photopigment melanopsin. These cells receive afferent inputs from rods and cones, which provide inputs to the postreceptoral visual pathways. It is unknown, however, how melanopsin activation is integrated with postreceptoral signals to control the pupillary light reflex. This study reports human flicker pupillary responses measured using stimuli generated with a five-primary photostimulator that selectively modulated melanopsin, rod, S-, M-, and L-cone excitations in isolation, or in combination to produce postreceptoral signals. We first analyzed the light adaptation behavior of melanopsin activation and rod and cones signals. Second, we determined how melanopsin is integrated with postreceptoral signals by testing with cone luminance, chromatic blue-yellow, and chromatic red-green stimuli that were processed by magnocellular (MC), koniocellular (KC), and parvocellular (PC) pathways, respectively. A combined rod and melanopsin response was also measured. The relative phase of the postreceptoral signals was varied with respect to the melanopsin phase. The results showed that light adaptation behavior for all conditions was weaker than typical Weber adaptation. Melanopsin activation combined linearly with luminance, S-cone, and rod inputs, suggesting the locus of integration with MC and KC signals was retinal. The melanopsin contribution to phasic pupil responses was lower than luminance contributions, but much higher than S-cone contributions. Chromatic red-green modulation interacted with melanopsin activation nonlinearly as described by a "winner-takes-all" process, suggesting the integration with PC signals might be mediated by a postretinal site.
Mahsa Barzy; Jo Black; David Williams; Heather J Ferguson
In: Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, vol. 149, no. 6, pp. 1097–1115, 2019.
Typically developing (TD) individuals rapidly integrate information about a speaker and their intended meaning while processing sentences online. We examined whether the same processes are activated in autistic adults and tested their timecourse in 2 preregistered experiments. Experiment 1 employed the visual world paradigm. Participants listened to sentences where the speaker's voice and message were either consistent or inconsistent (e.g., "When we go shopping, I usually look for my favorite wine," spoken by an adult or a child), and concurrently viewed visual scenes including consistent and inconsistent objects (e.g., wine and sweets). All participants were slower to select the mentioned object in the inconsistent condition. Importantly, eye movements showed a visual bias toward the voiceconsistent object, well before hearing the disambiguating word, showing that autistic adults rapidly use the speaker's voice to anticipate the intended meaning. However, this target bias emerged earlier in the TD group compared to the autism group (2240 ms vs. 1800 ms before disambiguation). Experiment 2 recorded ERPs to explore speaker-meaning integration processes. Participants listened to sentences as described above, and ERPs were time-locked to the onset of the target word. A control condition included a semantic anomaly. Results revealed an enhanced N400 for inconsistent speaker-meaning sentences that was comparable to that elicited by anomalous sentences, in both groups. Overall, contrary to research that has characterized autism in terms of a local processing bias and pragmatic dysfunction, autistic people were unimpaired at integrating multiple modalities of linguistic information and were comparably sensitive to speaker-meaning inconsistency effects.
Mahsa Barzy; Ruth Filik; David Williams; Heather J Ferguson
In: Autism Research, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 563–578, 2020.
Typically developing adults are able to keep track of story characters' emotional states online while reading. Filik et al. showed that initially, participants expected the victim to be more hurt by ironic comments than literal, but later considered them less hurtful; ironic comments were regarded as more amusing. We examined these processes in autistic adults, since previous research has demonstrated socio-emotional difficulties among autistic people, which may lead to problems processing irony and its related emotional processes despite an intact ability to integrate language in context. We recorded eye movements from autistic and nonautistic adults while they read narratives in which a character (the victim) was either criticized in an ironic or a literal manner by another character (the protagonist). A target sentence then either described the victim as feeling hurt/amused by the comment, or the protagonist as having intended to hurt/amused the victim by making the comment. Results from the nonautistic adults broadly replicated the key findings from Filik et al., supporting the two-stage account. Importantly, the autistic adults did not show comparable two-stage processing of ironic language; they did not differentiate between the emotional responses for victims or protagonists following ironic versus literal criticism. These findings suggest that autistic people experience a specific difficulty taking into account other peoples' communicative intentions (i.e., infer their mental state) to appropriately anticipate emotional responses to an ironic comment. We discuss how these difficulties might link to atypical socio-emotional processing in autism, and the ability to maintain successful real-life social interactions.