[visionlist] May 5 VSS Symposium on fixational eye movements

Susana Martinez-Conde smart at neuralcorrelate.com
Sat Mar 4 10:25:35 GMT 2006


                        Special VSS symposium

			     Fixational Eye Movements 
	in Visual Perception, Physiology, and Oculomotor control  

                     May 5th, 2006, 1:00 - 3:00pm

             	     Hyatt, Sarasota, Florida


Organizer:   Susana Martinez-Conde, Barrow Neurological Institute

Speakers:    Ikuya Murakami, The University of Tokyo (Japan)

             Susana Martinez-Conde, Barrow Neurological Institute (USA)

             Ralf Engbert, Potsdam University (Germany)

             Michele Rucci, Boston University (USA)


Our visual system contains a built-in contradiction: when we fixate our gaze
on an object of interest, our eyes are never still. Instead we produce,
several times each second, small eye movements of which we are unaware,
called "microsaccades", "drifts" and "tremor". Microsaccades are miniature
saccades produced during fixation, drifts are slow curvy motions that occur
between microsaccades, and tremor is a very fast, extremely small
oscillation of the eye superimposed on drifts. 

If we eliminate all these eye movements in the laboratory (using any number
of retinal stabilization techniques), our visual perception of stationary
objects fades, due to neural adaptation. Since we fixate our gaze about
70%-80% of the time during visual exploration, these fixational eye
movements often are responsible for driving most of our visual experience.
When our eyes move across the image once again, after having stabilized the
retinas, visual perception reappears. Due to their role in counteracting
adaptation, fixational eye movements are an important tool to understand how
the brain makes our environment visible. Moreover, because we are not aware
of these eye movements, they can also help us understand the underpinnings
of visual awareness. Over the last decade, the participants in this
symposium have studied the neuronal and perceptual correlates of fixational
eye movements. Among the topics covered by this symposium, we will review
the type of neural activity generated by fixational eye movements at
different levels in the visual system, the role of attention in modulating
fixational eye movements, and the role of fixational eye movements in
oculomotor control, in neuronal synchronization, in the viewing of natural
scenes, and in visual disease. We will also present striking visual
illusions that arise when our visual system fails to compensate for these
eye movements. Research in fixational eye movements is a topic that has
gained a lot of interest over the last decade, with crucial implications for
the fields of neural coding and visual perception in normal and pathological

For more information, contact Susana Martinez-Conde:
smart at neuralcorrelate.com 

VSS annual meeting home page: http://www.vision-sciences.org

Susana Martinez-Conde, PhD
Director, Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience
Division of Neurobiology
Barrow Neurological Institute
350 W. Thomas Rd
Phoenix AZ 85013, USA
Phone: +1 (602) 406-3484
Fax: +1 (602) 406-4172
Email: smart at neuralcorrelate.com

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