A framework for considering the role of afference and efference in the control and perception of ocular position


It has been well established that extra-retinal information is used in the perception of visual direction and distance. Furthermore, a number of studies have established that both efference copy and afferent discharge contribute to the extra-retinal signal. Despite this, no model currently exists to explain how the signals which arise through oculomotor control contribute to perception. This paper attempts to provide such a framework. The first part of the paper outlines the framework [the cyclopean equilibrium point (EP) model] and considers the binoculus or cyclopean eye from the perspective of a current account of motor control (the EP hypothesis). An existing model is used to describe how the nervous system could utilise available efference copy and afferent extra retinal signals when determining the direction and distance of cyclopean fixation. Although the cyclopean EP model is speculative, it allows for a parsimonious framework when considering the oculomotor contribution to perception. The model has the additional advantage of being consistent with current theories regarding the control and perception of limb movement. The second part of the paper shows that the model is biologically plausible, demonstrates the use of the proposed model in describing the central control of eye movements with regard to non-conjugate peripheral adaptation and reconciles seemingly disparate empirical findings.

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Mon-Williams, M., Tresilian, J. A framework for considering the role of afference and efference in the control and perception of ocular position. Biol Cybern 79, 175–189 (1998). https://doi.org/10.1007/s004220050469

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  • Equilibrium Point
  • Motor Control
  • Current Account
  • Central Control
  • Visual Direction