Fusion of visual and auditory stimuli during saccades: a Bayesian explanation for perisaccadic distortions,J Neurosci, 32 (27), 8525-8532.

Brief stimuli presented near the onset of saccades are grossly mislocalized in space. In this study, we investigated whether the Bayesian hypothesis of optimal sensory fusion could account for the mislocalization. We required subjects to localize visual, auditory, and audiovisual stimuli at the time of saccades (compared with an earlier presented target). During fixation, vision dominates and spatially “captures” the auditory stimulus (the ventriloquist effect). But for perisaccadic presentations, auditory localization becomes more important, so the mislocalized visual stimulus is seen closer to its veridical position. The precision of the bimodal localization (as measured by localization thresholds or just-noticeable difference) was better than either the visual or acoustic stimulus presented in isolation. Both the perceived position of the bimodal stimuli and the improved precision were well predicted by assuming statistically optimal Bayesian-like combination of visual and auditory signals. Furthermore, the time course of localization was well predicted by the Bayesian approach. We present a detailed model that simulates the time-course data, assuming that perceived position is given by the sum of retinal position and a sluggish noisy eye-position signal, obtained by integrating optimally the output of two populations of neural activity: one centered at the current point of gaze, the other centered at the future point of gaze.

Influence of saccadic adaptation on spatial localization: comparison of verbal and pointing reports,J Vis, 5 (7), 16 11-13.

Under conditions of short-term saccadic adaptation, stimuli presented long before saccadic onset are perceptually mislocalized in space. Here we study whether saccadic adaptation can also affect localization of objects by pointing. We measured localization performance during fixation and after normal saccades and adapted saccades, for a bar presented well before a saccadic eye movement, for both pointing and verbal localization, under open-loop conditions generated by a transient dark period about 300 ms after the presentation of the bar. During fixation and normal saccade, localization performance for verbal report was veridical, while for pointing there was an overestimation of the target eccentricity respect to gaze, in agreement with the idea of separate representations of space for action and perception. During saccadic adaptation, there was a significant shift of both pointing and verbal report localization in the direction of adaptation with similar spatial selectivity for both tasks. These results indicate that saccadic adaptation induces a similar re-calibration of the action map as well as of the perceptual map, suggesting a common site of operation in the transformation from eye-centered to gaze-centered coordinates.

Neural mechanisms for timing visual events are spatially selective in real-world coordinates,Nat Neurosci, 4 (10), 423-425.

It is generally assumed that perceptual events are timed by a centralized supramodal clock. This study challenges this notion in humans by providing clear evidence that visual events of subsecond duration are timed by visual neural mechanisms with spatially circumscribed receptive fields, localized in real-world, rather than retinal, coordinates.

Spatiotopic selectivity of BOLD responses to visual motion in human area MT,Nat Neurosci, 2 (10), 249-255.

Many neurons in the monkey visual extrastriate cortex have receptive fields that are affected by gaze direction. In humans, psychophysical studies suggest that motion signals may be encoded in a spatiotopic fashion. Here we use functional magnetic resonance imaging to study spatial selectivity in the human middle temporal cortex (area MT or V5), an area that is clearly implicated in motion perception. The results show that the response of MT is modulated by gaze direction, generating a spatial selectivity based on screen rather than retinal coordinates. This area could be the neurophysiological substrate of the spatiotopic representation of motion signals.

The effect of optokinetic nystagmus on the perceived position of briefly flashed targets,Vision Res, 6 (47), 861-868.

Stimuli flashed briefly around the time of an impending saccade are mislocalized in the direction of the saccade and also compressed towards the saccadic target. Similarly, targets flashed during pursuit eye movements are mislocalized in the direction of pursuit. Here, we investigate the effects of optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) on visual localization. Subjects passively viewed a wide-field drifting grating that elicited strong OKN, comprising the characteristic slow-phase tracking movement interspersed with corrected “saccade-like” fast-phase movements. Subjects reported the apparent position of salient bars flashed briefly at various positions on the screen. In general, bars were misperceived in the direction of the slow-phase tracking movement. Bars flashed around the onset of the fast-phase movements were subject to much less mislocalization, pointing to a competing shift in the direction of the fast-phase, as occurs with saccades. However, as distinct from saccades, there was no evidence for spatial compression around the time of the corrective fast-phase OKN. The results suggest that OKN cause perceptual mislocalizations similar to those of smooth pursuit and saccades, but there are some differences in the nature of the mislocalizations, pointing to different perceptual mechanisms associated with the different types of eye movements.

The lowest spatial frequency channel determines brightness perception,Vision Res, 10 (47), 1282-1291.

This study investigates the role played by individual spatial scales in determining the apparent brightness of greyscale patterns. We measured the perceived difference in brightness across an edge in the presence of notch filtering and high-pass filtering for two stimulus configurations, one that elicits the perception of transparency and one that appears opaque. For both stimulus configurations, the apparent brightness of the surfaces delimited by the border decreased monotonically with progressive (ideal) high-pass filtering, with a critical cut-off at 1 c/deg. Using two octave ideal notch filtering, the maximum detrimental effect on apparent brightness was observed at about 1c/deg. Critical frequencies for apparent brightness did not vary with contrast, viewing distance, or surface size, suggesting that apparent brightness is determined by the channel tuned at 1 c/deg. Modelling the data with the local energy model [Morrone, M. C., & Burr, D. C. (1988). Feature detection in human vision: a phase dependent energy model. Proceedings of the Royal Society (London), B235, 221-245] at 1c/deg confirmed the suggestion that this channel mediates apparent brightness for both opaque and transparent borders, with no need for pooling or integration across spatial channels.

The role of perceptual learning on modality-specific visual attentional effects,Vision Res, 1 (47), 60-70.

Morrone et al. [Morrone, M. C., Denti, V., & Spinelli, D. (2002). Color and luminance contrasts attract independent attention. Current Biology, 12, 1134-1137] reported that the detrimental effect on contrast discrimination thresholds of performing a concomitant task is modality specific: performing a secondary luminance task has no effect on colour contrast thresholds, and vice versa. Here we confirm this result with a novel task involving learning of spatial position, and go on to show that it is not specific to the cardinal colour axes: secondary tasks with red-green stimuli impede performance on a blue-yellow task and vice versa. We further show that the attentional effect can be abolished with continued training over 2-4 training days (2-20 training sessions), and that the effect of learning is transferable to new target positions. Given the finding of transference, we discuss the possibility that V4 is a site of plasticity for both stimulus types, and that the separation is due to a luminance-colour separation within this cortical area.