The effect of saccade metrics on the corollary discharge contribution to perceived eye location.

Research paper by Sonia S Bansal, Laurence C LC Jayet Bray, Matthew S MS Peterson, Wilsaan M WM Joiner

Indexed on: 13 Mar '15Published on: 13 Mar '15Published in: Journal of neurophysiology


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 determined the perceptual threshold for shift detection and estimate of target location. Our results indicate that the thresholds for all amplitudes and directions generally scaled with saccade amplitude. Additionally, 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 movement amplitude, and performance was largely the same across movement 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.