Facilitation of ocular pursuit during transient occlusion of externally-generated target motion by concurrent upper limb movement

Simon J. Bennett, Daniel O'Donnell, Steve Hansen, Graham R. Barnes

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    Smooth pursuit during prolonged occlusion is improved in the presence of sensorimotor signals when tracking selfgenerated target motion. The current study investigated whether concurrent arm tracking of externally-generated target motion conveys a similar facilitation to ocular pursuit of transiently occluded constant velocity (Experiment 1) or accelerating (Experiment 2) targets. Velocity characteristics and occlusion duration were arranged in random or blocked order, thus permitting a novel examination of the contribution from sensorimotor signals and predictive processes acting within the ocular system during transient occlusion. Consistent with previous investigations, smooth pursuit decayed during transient occlusion; but eye velocity was higher when trials were presented in blocked compared to random order, particularly for positively accelerating targets. For fast, constant velocity targets, concurrent arm movement facilitated smooth pursuit during transient occlusion. Nevertheless, even with increased predictability regarding the upcoming target motion in blocked-order trials and the presence of sensorimotor signals from concurrent arm movement, eye velocity always remained less than target velocity during occlusion. This contrasted with the manual response, which attained velocity close to target velocity, whether in blocked or random conditions. These findings are discussed with reference to recent models of ocular pursuit that incorporate short-term and/or long-term prediction to account for target extrapolation during occlusion. © 2012 ARVO.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number17
    JournalJournal of vision
    Issue number13
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • Oculo-manual
    • Prediction
    • Smooth pursuit
    • Transient occlusion


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