Quantitative analysis of catch-up saccades during sustained pursuit

Sophie De Brouwer, Marcus Missal, Graham Barnes, Philippe Lefèvre

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    During visual tracking of a moving stimulus, primates orient their visual axis by combining two very different types of eye movements, smooth pursuit and saccades. The purpose of this paper was to investigate quantitatively the catch-up saccades occurring during sustained pursuit. We used a ramp-step-ramp paradigm to evoke catch-up saccades during sustained pursuit. In general, catch-up saccades followed the unexpected steps in position and velocity of the target. We observed catch-up saccades in the same direction as the smooth eye movement (forward saccades) as well as in the opposite direction (reverse saccades). We made a comparison of the main sequences of forward saccades, reverse saccades, and control saccades made to stationary targets. They were all three significantly different from each other and were fully compatible with the hypothesis that the smooth pursuit component is added to the saccadic component during catch-up saccades. A multiple linear regression analysis was performed on the saccadic component to find the parameters determining the amplitude of catch-up saccades. We found that both position error and retinal slip are taken into account in catch-up saccade programming to predict the future trajectory of the moving target. We also demonstrated that the saccadic system needs a minimum period of approximately 90 ms for taking into account changes in target trajectory. Finally, we reported a saturation (above 15°/s) in the contribution of retinal slip to the amplitude of catch-up saccades.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1772-1780
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2002


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