Egocentric visual target position and velocity coding: role of ocular muscle proprioception

Ann Biomed Eng. 1995 Jul-Aug;23(4):423-35. doi: 10.1007/BF02584442.


Limited knowledge is available regarding the processes by which the brain codes the velocity of visual targets with respect to the observer. Two models have been previously proposed to describe the visual target localization mechanism. Both assume that the necessary information is derived from the coding of the position of the eye in the orbit, either through a copy of the muscular activation (out flow model) or through eye muscle proprioception (in flow model). Eye velocity coding might be derived from velocity sensitive ocular muscle proprioceptors or from position coding signals through differentiation. We used techniques based on manual pointing and manual tracking of visual target, combined with passive deviation of one covered eye, to demonstrate that ocular muscle proprioception is involved in (i) eye-in-head position coding, hence in target localization function; (ii) long-term maintenance of ocular alignment (phoria); and (iii) sensing of visual target velocity with respect to the head. These observations support other data now available, describing the processes by which the brain codes position and velocity of visual targets. Such findings might interest engineers in the field of robotics who are facing the problem of providing robots with the ability to sense object position and velocity in order to create an internal model of their working environment.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Oculomotor Muscles / physiology*
  • Posture / physiology
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Reference Values
  • Retina / physiology
  • Saccades / physiology
  • Strabismus / physiopathology
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology