Reinforcement contingencies modulate anticipatory smooth eye movements

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

GDR-Vision 2016 -

Natural environments potentially contain several interesting targets for goal-directed be- havior. Thus sensorimotor systems need to operate a competitive selection based on behav- iorally meaningful parameters. Recently, it has been observed that voluntary eye movements such as saccades and smooth pursuit can be considered as operant behaviors (Madelain et al, 2011). Indeed, parameters of saccades such as peak-velocity or latency (Montagnini et al, 2005) as well as smooth pursuit behavior during transient blanking (Madelain et al, 2003) or visually-guided pursuit of ambiguous stimuli (Sch ́’utz et al, 2015) can be modified by reinforcement contingencies. Here we address the question of whether expectancy-based anticipatory smooth pursuit can be modulated by reinforcement contingencies. When pre- dictive information is available, anticipatory smooth pursuit eye movements (aSPEM) is frequently observed before target appearance. Actions that occur at some distance in time from the reinforcement outcome, such as aSPEM -which occurs without any concurrent sen- sory feedback- suffer of the well-known credit assignment problem (Kaelbling et al, 1996). We designed a direction-bias task as a baseline and modified it by setting an implicit eye velocity criterion during anticipation. The nature of the following trial-outcome (reward or punishment) was contingent to the online criterion matching. We observed a dominant graded effect of motion-direction bias and a small modulational effect of reinforcement on aSPEM velocity. A yoked-control paradigm corroborated this result showing a strong reduc- tion in anticipatory behavior when the reward/punishment schedule was not contingent to behavior. An additional classical conditioning paradigm confirmed that reinforcement con- tingencies have to be operant to be effective and that they have a role in solving the credit assignment problem during aSPEM.


This work was supported by the Innovative Training Network "Perception and Action in Complex Environments" (PACE ITN), a Marie Skodowska-Curie program of the H2020 European Union program (grant agreement No 642961).

This work was supported by ANR project ANR-13-APPR-0008 "ANR R.E.M.".
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All material (c) L. Perrinet. Please check the copyright notice.

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