Journal of Computational Neuroscience

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 61–76 | Cite as

Frame of reference transformations in motion perception during smooth pursuit eye movements

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


Smooth pursuit eye movements change the retinal image velocity of objects in the visual field. In order to change from a retinocentric frame of reference into a head-centric one, the visual system has to take the eye movements into account. Studies on motion perception during smooth pursuit eye movements have measured either perceived speed or perceived direction during smooth pursuit to investigate this frame of reference transformation, but never both at the same time. We devised a new velocity matching task, in which participants matched both perceived speed and direction during fixation to that during pursuit. In Experiment 1, the velocity matches were determined for a range of stimulus directions, with the head-centric stimulus speed kept constant. In Experiment 2, the retinal stimulus speed was kept approximately constant, with the same range of stimulus directions. In both experiments, the velocity matches for all directions were shifted against the pursuit direction, suggesting an incomplete transformation of the frame of reference. The degree of compensation was approximately constant across stimulus direction. We fitted the classical linear model, the model of Turano and Massof (2001) and that of Freeman (2001) to the velocity matches. The model of Turano and Massof fitted the velocity matches best, but the differences between de model fits were quite small. Evaluation of the models and comparison to a few alternatives suggests that further specification of the potential effect of retinal image characteristics on the eye movement signal is needed.


motion perception smooth pursuit eye movements efference copy eye movement signal frame of reference 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006

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 UniversityThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Max Planck Institute for Biological CyberneticsTübingenGermany

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