Volume 347, Issue 1 p. 17-33
Research Article
Free to Read

On the predictive control of foveal eye tracking and slow phases of optokinetic and vestibular nystagmus.

First published: 01 February 1984
Citations: 170


Smooth pursuit and saccadic components of foveal visual tracking as well as more involuntary ocular movements of optokinetic (o.k.n.) and vestibular nystagmus slow phase components were investigated in man, with particular attention given to their possible input-adaptive or predictive behaviour. Each component in question was isolated from the eye movement records through a computer-aided procedure. The frequency response method was used with sinusoidal (predictable) and pseudo-random (unpredictable) stimuli. When the target motion was pseudo-random, the frequency response of pursuit eye movements revealed a large phase lead (up to about 90 degrees) at low stimulus frequencies. It is possible to interpret this result as a predictive effect, even though the stimulation was pseudo-random and thus 'unpredictable'. The pseudo-random-input frequency response intrinsic to the saccadic system was estimated in an indirect way from the pursuit and composite (pursuit + saccade) frequency response data. The result was fitted well by a servo-mechanism model, which has a simple anticipatory mechanism to compensate for the inherent neuromuscular saccadic delay by utilizing the retinal slip velocity signal. The o.k.n. slow phase also exhibited a predictive effect with sinusoidal inputs; however, pseudo-random stimuli did not produce such phase lead as found in the pursuit case. The vestibular nystagmus slow phase showed no noticeable sign of prediction in the frequency range examined (0 approximately 0.7 Hz), in contrast to the results of the visually driven eye movements (i.e. saccade, pursuit and o.k.n. slow phase) at comparable stimulus frequencies.