Eye movements alter visual perceptions in a number of ways. During smooth-pursuit eye movements, previous studies reported decreased detection threshold for colored stimuli and for high-spatial-frequency luminance stimuli, suggesting a boost in the parvocellular system. The present study investigated the underlying neural mechanism using EEG in human participants. Participants followed a moving target with smooth-pursuit eye movements while steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs) were elicited by equiluminant red-green flickering gratings in the background. SSVEP responses to colored gratings were 18.9% higher during smooth pursuit than during fixation. There was no enhancement of SSVEPs by smooth pursuit when the flickering grating was defined by luminance instead of color. This result provides physiological evidence that the chromatic response in the visual system is boosted by the execution of smooth-pursuit eye movements in humans. Because the response improvement is thought to be the result of an improved response in the parvocellular system, SSVEPs to equiluminant stimuli could provide a direct test of parvocellular signaling, especially in populations where collecting an explicit behavioral response from the participant is not feasible. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We constantly move our eyes when we explore the world. Eye movements alter visual perception in various ways. The smooth-pursuit eye movements have been shown to boost color sensitivity. We recorded steady-state visually evoked potentials to equiluminant chromatic flickering stimuli and observed increased steady-state visually evoked potentials when participants smoothly pursued a moving target compared with when they maintained fixation. This work provides direct neurophysiological evidence for the parvocellular boost by smooth-pursuit eye movements in humans.

Enhanced brain responses to color during smooth-pursuit eye movements

Valsecchi M.;
2017

Abstract

Eye movements alter visual perceptions in a number of ways. During smooth-pursuit eye movements, previous studies reported decreased detection threshold for colored stimuli and for high-spatial-frequency luminance stimuli, suggesting a boost in the parvocellular system. The present study investigated the underlying neural mechanism using EEG in human participants. Participants followed a moving target with smooth-pursuit eye movements while steady-state visually evoked potentials (SSVEPs) were elicited by equiluminant red-green flickering gratings in the background. SSVEP responses to colored gratings were 18.9% higher during smooth pursuit than during fixation. There was no enhancement of SSVEPs by smooth pursuit when the flickering grating was defined by luminance instead of color. This result provides physiological evidence that the chromatic response in the visual system is boosted by the execution of smooth-pursuit eye movements in humans. Because the response improvement is thought to be the result of an improved response in the parvocellular system, SSVEPs to equiluminant stimuli could provide a direct test of parvocellular signaling, especially in populations where collecting an explicit behavioral response from the participant is not feasible. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We constantly move our eyes when we explore the world. Eye movements alter visual perception in various ways. The smooth-pursuit eye movements have been shown to boost color sensitivity. We recorded steady-state visually evoked potentials to equiluminant chromatic flickering stimuli and observed increased steady-state visually evoked potentials when participants smoothly pursued a moving target compared with when they maintained fixation. This work provides direct neurophysiological evidence for the parvocellular boost by smooth-pursuit eye movements in humans.
Chen J.; Valsecchi M.; Gegenfurtner K.R.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/713109
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