Oculo-manual coordination control: respective role of visual and non-visual information in ocular tracking of self-moved targets

Exp Brain Res. 1995;103(2):311-22. doi: 10.1007/BF00231717.


We evaluated the role of visual and non-visual information in the control of smooth pursuit movements during tracking of a self-moved target. Previous works have shown that self-moved target tracking is characterised by shorter smooth pursuit latency and higher maximal velocity than eye-alone tracking. In fact, when a subject tracks a visual target controlled by his own arm, eye movement and arm movement are closely synchronised. In the present study, we showed that, in a condition where the direction of motion of a self-moved visual target was opposite to that of the arm (same amplitude, same velocity, but opposite direction of movement), the resulting smooth pursuit eye movements occurred with low latency, and continued for about 140 ms in the direction of the arm movement rather than in the direction of the actual visual target movement. After 140 ms, the eye movement direction reversed through a combination of smooth pursuit and saccades. Subsequently, while arm and visual target still moved in opposite directions, smooth pursuit occurred in pace with the visual target motion. Subjects were also submitted to a series of 60 tracking trials, for which the arm-to-target motion relationship was systematically reversed. Under these conditions subjects were able to initiate early smooth pursuit in the actual direction of the visual target. Overall, these results confirm that non-visual information produced by the arm motor system can trigger and control smooth pursuit. They also demonstrate the plasticity of the neuronal network handling eye-arm coordination control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Hand / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology*
  • Pursuit, Smooth / physiology*
  • Reaction Time
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*