We are normally not aware that our eyes and head are always in motion. Yet small, involuntary head and eye movements continually occur, even when we attempt to keep our gaze fixed on a point in the scene. It has long been known that the temporal modulations resulting from these movements are essential for seeing: the world becomes progressively fainter and will eventually fade altogether when the head and eyes are immobilized. However, the specific mechanisms by which fixational movements contribute to vision remain unknown. With funding from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Rucci and his team at Boston University will measure microscopic head and eye movements in human observers and reconstruct the input signals entering their eyes. The investigators will then use these data to quantify the impact of the observer's actions on the sensory flow of information and examine how this flow changes during the execution of different visual activities.

This research will investigate the mechanisms by which fixational movements contribute to the processing of visual information in the brain and the establishment of a stable visual percept. Elucidating the impact of fixational movements is critical to advancing our knowledge of how the visual system functions and how to build machines which replicate human visual capabilities. Furthermore, abnormal fixational eye movements occur in various pathological conditions. A thorough understanding of the functions of fixational eye movements may lead to treatment of the visual impairments associated with such conditions.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences (BCS)
Type
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
1127216
Program Officer
Betty H. Tuller
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-09-01
Budget End
2014-08-31
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$482,813
Indirect Cost
Name
Boston University
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Boston
State
MA
Country
United States
Zip Code
02215