Using vision to control locomotion: looking where you want to go

Exp Brain Res. 2010 Aug;204(4):539-47. doi: 10.1007/s00221-010-2321-4. Epub 2010 Jun 17.


Looking at the inside edge of the road when steering a bend seems to be a well-established strategy linked to using a feature called the tangent point. An alternative proposal suggests that the gaze patterns observed when steering result from looking at the points in the world through which one wishes to pass. In this explanation fixation on or near the tangent point results from trying to take a trajectory that cuts the corner. To test these accounts, we recorded gaze and steering when taking different paths along curved roadways. Participants could gauge and maintain their lateral distance, but crucially, gaze was predominantly directed to the region proximal to the desired path rather than toward the tangent point per se. These results show that successful control of high-speed locomotion requires fixations in the direction you want to steer rather than using a single road feature like the tangent point.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving
  • Computer Simulation
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Fixation, Ocular / physiology
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Locomotion / physiology*
  • Male
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Orientation / physiology
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Space Perception / physiology*
  • Young Adult