Coordination of eye and leg movements during visually guided stepping

J Mot Behav. 2001 Jun;33(2):205-16. doi: 10.1080/00222890109603151.


In the present study, 2 related hypotheses were tested: first, that vision is used in a feedforward control mode during precision stepping onto visual targets and, second, that the oculomotor and locomotor control centers interact to produce coordinated eye and leg movements during that task. Participants' (N = 4) eye movements and step cycle transition events were monitored while they performed a task requiring precise foot placement at every step onto irregularly placed stepping stones under conditions in which the availability of visual information was either restricted or intermittently removed altogether. Accurate saccades, followed by accurate steps, to the next footfall target were almost always made even when the information had been invisible for as long as 500 ms. Despite delays in footlift caused by the temporary removal (and subsequent reinstatement) of visual information, the mean interval between the start of the eye movement and the start of the swing toward a target did not vary significantly (p >.05). In contrast, the mean interval between saccade onset away from a target and a foot landing on that target (stance onset) did vary significantly (p <.05) under the different experimental conditions. Those results support the stated hypotheses.

MeSH terms

  • Cues*
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Leg / physiology*
  • Movement / physiology*
  • Random Allocation
  • Time Factors
  • Visual Perception / physiology*