Contrast sensitivity reveals an oculomotor strategy for temporally encoding space.

TitleContrast sensitivity reveals an oculomotor strategy for temporally encoding space.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsCasile A, Victor JD, Rucci M
Date Published2019 01 08
KeywordsAdult, Contrast Sensitivity, Eye Movements, Female, Fixation, Ocular, Humans, Motor Activity, Neurons, Retina, Space Perception, Time Factors, Visual Perception, Young Adult

The contrast sensitivity function (CSF), how sensitivity varies with the frequency of the stimulus, is a fundamental assessment of visual performance. The CSF is generally assumed to be determined by low-level sensory processes. However, the spatial sensitivities of neurons in the early visual pathways, as measured in experiments with immobilized eyes, diverge from psychophysical CSF measurements in primates. Under natural viewing conditions, as in typical psychophysical measurements, humans continually move their eyes even when looking at a fixed point. Here, we show that the resulting transformation of the spatial scene into temporal modulations on the retina constitutes a processing stage that reconciles human CSF and the response characteristics of retinal ganglion cells under a broad range of conditions. Our findings suggest a fundamental integration between perception and action: eye movements work synergistically with the spatio-temporal sensitivities of retinal neurons to encode spatial information.

Alternate JournalElife
PubMed ID30620333
PubMed Central IDPMC6324884
Grant ListR01 EY018363 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States
1420212 / / National Science Foundation / International
BCS-1457238 / / National Science Foundation / International
NEI 07977 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States
R01 EY007977 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States
EY018363 / EY / NEI NIH HHS / United States

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