Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New vision of how we explore our world

Date:
April 5, 2013
Source:
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center
Summary:
Brain researchers have discovered that we explore the world with our eyes in a different way than previously thought. Their results advance our understanding of how healthy observers and neurological patients interact and glean critical information from the world around them.

Brain researchers at Barrow Neurological Institute have discovered that we explore the world with our eyes in a different way than previously thought. Their results advance our understanding of how healthy observers and neurological patients interact and glean critical information from the world around them.

The research team was led by Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde, Director of the Laboratory of Visual Neuroscience at Barrow, in collaboration with fellow Barrow Neurological Institute researchers Jorge Otero-Millan, Rachel Langston, and Dr. Stephen Macknik, Director of the Laboratory of Behavioral Neurophysiology. The study, titled "An oculomotor continuum from exploration to fixation," was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Previously, scientists thought that we sample visual information from the world in two main different modes: exploration and fixation. "We used to think that we make large eye movements to search for objects of interest, and then fix our gaze to see them with high detail," says Martinez-Conde. "But now we know that's not quite right."

The discovery shows that even during visual fixation, we are actually scanning visual details with small eye movements -- just like we explore visual scenes with big eye movements, but on a smaller scale. This means that exploration and fixation are two ends of the same continuum of oculomotor scanning.

Subjects viewed natural images while the team measured their eye movements with high-speed eye tracking. The images could range in size from the massive, presented on a room-sized video monitor in the Barrow Neurological Institute's Eller Telepresence Room, normally used for Barrow's surgeons to collaborate in brain surgeries with colleagues around the world, to images that are just half the width of your thumb nail.

In all cases, the researchers found that subjects' eyes scanned the scenes with the same general strategy, along a smooth continuum of dynamical changes. "There was no abrupt change in the characteristics of the eye movements, whether the visual scenes were huge or tiny, or even when the subjects were fixing their gaze. That means that the brain controls eye movements in the same way when we explore and when we fixate," said Dr. Martinez-Conde.

Scientists have studied how the brain controls eye movements for over 100 years, and the idea -- challenged here -- that fixation and exploration are fundamentally different behaviors has been central to the field. This new perspective will affect future research and bring focus to the study of neurological diseases that impact oculomotor behavior.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. J. Otero-Millan, S. L. Macknik, R. E. Langston, S. Martinez-Conde. An oculomotor continuum from exploration to fixation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222715110

Cite This Page:

St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. "New vision of how we explore our world." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405094521.htm>.
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. (2013, April 5). New vision of how we explore our world. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405094521.htm
St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center. "New vision of how we explore our world." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405094521.htm (accessed September 2, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

U.N. Says Ebola Travel Restrictions Will Cause Food Shortage

Newsy (Sep. 2, 2014) The U.N. says the problem is two-fold — quarantine zones and travel restrictions are limiting the movement of both people and food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Can You Train Your Brain To Eat Healthy?

Newsy (Sep. 1, 2014) New research says if you condition yourself to eat healthy foods, eventually you'll crave them instead of junk food. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins