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Microsaccadic Efficacy and Contribution to Foveal and Peripheral Vision

McCamy, Michael B. and Otero-Millan, Jorge and Macknik, Stephen L. and Yang, Yan and Troncoso, Xoana G. and Baer, Steven M. and Crook, Sharon M. and Martinez-Conde, Susana (2012) Microsaccadic Efficacy and Contribution to Foveal and Peripheral Vision. Journal of Neuroscience, 32 (27). pp. 9194-9204. ISSN 0270-6474. PMCID PMC6622220.

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Our eyes move constantly, even when we try to fixate our gaze. Fixational eye movements prevent and restore visual loss during fixation, yet the relative impact of each type of fixational eye movement remains controversial. For over five decades, the debate has focused on microsaccades, the fastest and largest fixational eye movements. Some recent studies have concluded that microsaccades counteract visual fading during fixation. Other studies have disputed this idea, contending that microsaccades play no significant role in vision. The disagreement stems from the lack of methods to determine the precise effects of microsaccades on vision versus those of other eye movements, as well as a lack of evidence that microsaccades are relevant to foveal vision. Here we developed a novel generalized method to determine the precise quantified contribution and efficacy of human microsaccades to restoring visibility compared with other eye movements. Our results indicate that microsaccades are the greatest eye movement contributor to the restoration of both foveal and peripheral vision during fixation. Our method to calculate the efficacy and contribution of microsaccades to perception can determine the strength of connection between any two physiological and/or perceptual events, providing a novel and powerful estimate of causal influence; thus, we anticipate wide-ranging applications in neuroscience and beyond.

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Additional Information:© 2012 the authors. Received Feb. 2, 2012; revised April 20, 2012; accepted May 17, 2012. This study was supported by the Barrow Neurological Foundation (awards to S.L.M. and S.M.-C.) and the National Science Foundation (Award 0852636 to S.M.-C. and Award DMS-0718308 to S.M.B. and S.M.C.). J.O.-M. is a Fellow of the Pedro Barrié de la Maza Foundation. We thank A. Danielson, M. Ledo, and B. Kousari for technical assistance. The authors declare no financial conflicts of interest. Author contributions: M.B.M., J.O.-M., S.L.M., X.G.T., and S.M.-C. designed research; M.B.M. performed research; M.B.M., J.O.-M., S.L.M., Y.Y., X.G.T., S.M.B., S.M.C., and S.M.-C. analyzed data; M.B.M., S.L.M., Y.Y., and S.M.-C. wrote the paper.
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Barrow Neurological FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Issue or Number:27
PubMed Central ID:PMC6622220
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120806-091112253
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Official Citation:Michael B. McCamy, Jorge Otero-Millan, Stephen L. Macknik, Yan Yang, Xoana G. Troncoso, Steven M. Baer, Sharon M. Crook, and Susana Martinez-Conde Microsaccadic Efficacy and Contribution to Foveal and Peripheral Vision The Journal of Neuroscience, 4 July 2012, 32(27):9194-9204; doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.0515-12.2012
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:32933
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:06 Aug 2012 16:34
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:05

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