Human Gaze Stabilization During Active Head Translations
Journal of Neurophysiology
Medendorp, W. P., J.A.M. Van Gisbergen, and C.C.A.M. Gielen. Human gaze stabilization during active head translations. J Neurophysiol 87: 295-304, 2002; 10.1152/jn.00892.2000. This study investigated how binocular gaze is controlled to compensate for selfgenerated translational movements of the head where geometric requirements dictate that the ideal gaze signal needs to be modulated by the inverse of target distance. Binocular gaze (eye plus head) was measured for visual and remembered targets
... at various distances in six human subjects during active head translations at frequencies of 0.25, 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5 Hz. We found that, during head translations, gaze changes were achieved by a combination of eye and head rotations. Accordingly, stabilization performance was characterized by the gaze response parameters sensitivity and phase, where sensitivity is defined as the ratio of gaze velocity and translational eye velocity and where phase refers to the phase delay of gaze velocity relative to translational eye velocity. In the analysis, we used a binocular coordinate system yielding a version and a vergence component. We examined how frequency and target distance, estimated from the vergence angle, affected sensitivity and phase of the version component of the gaze signal and compared the results to the requirements for ideal performance. The relation between gaze sensitivity and the inverse of distance was characterized by a linear regression analysis. The ratio of the slope of the linear regression and the slope required for ideal stabilization provided a measure for the degree of "distance compensation." The results show that distance compensation was better for a visual target than for remembered targets in darkness, and behaved according to low-pass characteristics in both target conditions. It declined from 1.00 to 0.84 for visual targets and from 0.87 to 0.57 for remembered targets in the frequency range 0.25-1.5 Hz. The intercept obtained from the regression yielded the gaze response at zero vergence and specified a "default sensitivity" of gaze compensation. Default sensitivity increased with frequency from 0.02 at 0.25 Hz to 0.10°/cm at 1.5 Hz for visual targets and from 0.04 to 0.16°/cm in darkness. The phase delays of the gaze response increased on average from 2 to 7°in the frequency range 0.25-1.5 Hz. In comparison with earlier passive studies, active translation compensation in the dark is superior at all frequencies where comparison was possible. We conclude that a nonvestibular signal with low-pass characteristics contributes to gaze during active head translations.