Effects of motion predictability on anticipatory and visually-guided eye movements: a common prior for sensory processing and motor control?

Human behavior is highly sensitive to regularities in the environment. For instance, the repeated presentation of a particular pattern of motion leads to anticipatory eye-movements coherent with the expected pattern. Such expectancy-based anticipation can be seen as the motor readout of an internal prior. The impact of this prior on visual motion processing remains largely unexplored. Recently, Yang and collaborators (2012) proposed that a bias in direction probability would affect the sensorimotor gain of visually-guided pursuit. We recorded eye-movements during a smooth pursuit task, where the probability of motion was either uniform across directions, or biased in favor of one particular direction. As expected, robust anticipatory pursuit was observed with the biased-context. In occasional probe trials, two targets moved along orthogonal directions (e.g. Right and Upward), leading, with the uniform context, to the initiation of visually guided smooth pursuit along their vector-average (e.g. the Right-Upward diagonal). In the biased-context condition, the vector averaging pursuit was systematically shifted toward the most likely direction, this shift being independent from the actual direction of the moving stimuli. Our results argue against the hypothesis of a modulation of the visuomotor pursuit gain and provide a benchmark for alternative hypotheses on the nature and impact of the expectancy-based prior. Meeting abstract presented at ECVP 2016 as a talk.


All material (c) L. Perrinet. Please check the copyright notice.

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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