Eye position effects in oculomotor plasticity and visual localization,J Neurosci, 20 (31), 7341-7348.
For visual localization to remain accurate across changes of gaze, a signal representing the position of the eye in the orbita is needed to code spatial locations in a reference frame that is independent of retinal displacements. Here we report evidence that the localization of visual objects in space is coded in an extraretinal reference frame. In human subjects, we used outward saccadic adaptation, which can be induced artificially by a systematic displacement of the saccade target. This form of oculomotor plasticity is accompanied by changes in spatial perception, thus highlighting the relevance of saccade metrics for visual localization. We tested the reference frame of outward adaptation for reactive and scanning saccades and visual localization. For scanning saccades, adaptation magnitude was drastically reduced at positions distant from the adapted eye position. Changes in visual localization showed a very similar modulation of eye position. These results suggest that scanning saccade adaptation is encoded in a nonretinotopic reference frame. Eye position effects for reactive saccade adaptation were smaller, and the induced mislocalization did not vary significantly between eye positions. The different modulation of reactive and scanning saccade adaptation supports the idea that oculomotor plasticity can occur at multiple sites in the brain. The findings are also consistent with previous evidence for a stronger influence of scanning saccade adaptation on the visual localization of objects in space.