Dissociation between perception and smooth pursuit eye movements in speed judgments of moving Gabor targets.

23 Apr 2018

The relationship between eye movements and subjective perception is still relatively poorly understood. In this study, participants tracked the movement of a Gabor patch and made perceptual judgments of its speed using a two-interval forced choice task. The Gabor patch could either have a static carrier or a carrier moving in the same or opposite direction as the overall envelope motion. We found that smooth pursuit speed was strongly affected by the internal motion of the Gabor carrier, with faster smooth pursuit being made to targets with internal motion in the same direction as overall motion compared to targets with internal motion in the opposite direction. However, we found that there were only small and highly variable differences in the perceptual speed judgments made simultaneously, and that these perceptual and smooth pursuit measures did not significantly correlate with each other. This contrasts with the number of catch-up saccades (saccades made in the direction of overall target motion), which was significantly correlated with the simultaneous perceptual judgments. There was also a significant correlation between perceptual judgments and the difference between the target and eye position immediately before a saccade. These results suggest that it is possible to see dissociations between vision and action in this task, and that the specific type of visual action studied may determine the relationship with perception.