Shared sensory estimates for human motion perception and pursuit eye movements.


Journal Article

Are sensory estimates formed centrally in the brain and then shared between perceptual and motor pathways or is centrally represented sensory activity decoded independently to drive awareness and action? Questions about the brain's information flow pose a challenge because systems-level estimates of environmental signals are only accessible indirectly as behavior. Assessing whether sensory estimates are shared between perceptual and motor circuits requires comparing perceptual reports with motor behavior arising from the same sensory activity. Extrastriate visual cortex both mediates the perception of visual motion and provides the visual inputs for behaviors such as smooth pursuit eye movements. Pursuit has been a valuable testing ground for theories of sensory information processing because the neural circuits and physiological response properties of motion-responsive cortical areas are well studied, sensory estimates of visual motion signals are formed quickly, and the initiation of pursuit is closely coupled to sensory estimates of target motion. Here, we analyzed variability in visually driven smooth pursuit and perceptual reports of target direction and speed in human subjects while we manipulated the signal-to-noise level of motion estimates. Comparable levels of variability throughout viewing time and across conditions provide evidence for shared noise sources in the perception and action pathways arising from a common sensory estimate. We found that conditions that create poor, low-gain pursuit create a discrepancy between the precision of perception and that of pursuit. Differences in pursuit gain arising from differences in optic flow strength in the stimulus reconcile much of the controversy on this topic.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mukherjee, T; Battifarano, M; Simoncini, C; Osborne, LC

Published Date

  • June 3, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 22

Start / End Page

  • 8515 - 8530

PubMed ID

  • 26041919

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26041919

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1529-2401

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.4320-14.2015


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States