Eye movements and perception: a selective review

J Vis. 2011 Sep 14;11(5):9. doi: 10.1167/11.5.9.


Eye movements are an integral and essential part of our human foveated vision system. Here, we review recent work on voluntary eye movements, with an emphasis on the last decade. More selectively, we address two of the most important questions about saccadic and smooth pursuit eye movements in natural vision. First, why do we saccade to where we do? We argue that, like for many other aspects of vision, several different circuits related to salience, object recognition, actions, and value ultimately interact to determine gaze behavior. Second, how are pursuit eye movements and perceptual experience of visual motion related? We show that motion perception and pursuit have a lot in common, but they also have separate noise sources that can lead to dissociations between them. We emphasize the point that pursuit actively modulates visual perception and that it can provide valuable information for motion perception.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Figural Aftereffect / physiology
  • Humans
  • Motion Perception / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation / methods
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*