Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 164, Issue 3, pp 376–386 | Cite as

Perceived motion direction during smooth pursuit eye movements

  • Jan L. SoumanEmail author
  • Ignace Th. C. Hooge
  • Alexander H. Wertheim
Research Article


Although many studies have been devoted to motion perception during smooth pursuit eye movements, relatively little attention has been paid to the question of whether the compensation for the effects of these eye movements is the same across different stimulus directions. The few studies that have addressed this issue provide conflicting conclusions. We measured the perceived motion direction of a stimulus dot during horizontal ocular pursuit for stimulus directions spanning the entire range of 360°. The stimulus moved at either 3 or 8°/s. Constancy of the degree of compensation was assessed by fitting the classical linear model of motion perception during pursuit. According to this model, the perceived velocity is the result of adding an eye movement signal that estimates the eye velocity to the retinal signal that estimates the retinal image velocity for a given stimulus object. The perceived direction depends on the gain ratio of the two signals, which is assumed to be constant across stimulus directions. The model provided a good fit to the data, suggesting that compensation is indeed constant across stimulus direction. Moreover, the gain ratio was lower for the higher stimulus speed, explaining differences in results in the literature.


Motion perception Motion direction Smooth pursuit Eye movements Extraretinal signal 



The authors would like to thank Dr. Herbert Hoijtink for his advice on modelling the data.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan L. Souman
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ignace Th. C. Hooge
    • 1
  • Alexander H. Wertheim
    • 1
  1. 1.Helmholtz Institute, Department of PsychonomicsUtrecht University
  2. 2.UtrechtThe Netherlands

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