Transsaccadic integration of visual features in a line intersection task
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- Prime, S.L., Niemeier, M. & Crawford, J. Exp Brain Res (2006) 169: 532. doi:10.1007/s00221-005-0164-1
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Transsaccadic integration (TSI) refers to the perceptual integration of visual information collected across separate gaze fixations. Current theories of TSI disagree on whether it relies solely on visual algorithms or also uses extra-retinal signals. We designed a task in which subjects had to rely on internal oculomotor signals to synthesize remembered stimulus features presented within separate fixations. Using a mouse-controlled pointer, subjects estimated the intersection point of two successively presented bars, in the dark, under two conditions: Saccade task (bars viewed in separate fixations) and Fixation task (bars viewed in one fixation). Small, but systematic biases were observed in both intersection tasks, including position-dependent vertical undershoots and order-dependent horizontal biases. However, the magnitude of these errors was statistically indistinguishable in the Saccade and Fixation tasks. Moreover, part of the errors in the Saccade task were dependent on saccade metrics, showing that egocentric oculomotor signals were used to fuse remembered location and orientation features across saccades. We hypothesize that these extra-retinal signals are normally used to reduce the computational load of calculating visual correspondence between fixations. We further hypothesize that TSI may be implemented within dynamically updated recurrent feedback loops that interconnect a common eye-centered map in occipital cortex with both the “dorsal” and “ventral” streams of visual analysis.