Shift in saccadic direction induced in humans by proprioceptive manipulation: a comparison between memory-guided and visually guided saccades

Exp Brain Res. 1996 Aug;110(3):473-81. doi: 10.1007/BF00229147.


It is nowadays generally recognized that saccades to remembered targets are planned in a craniotopic frame of reference by combining retinal input with eye position signal. The origin of the eye position signal is still a matter of controversy, however. Does it arise from an efferent copy or is it supplied by the sensory receptors with which the extraocular muscles are endowed? When applied to skeletal muscles, vibration elicits spindle responses simulating a stretching of the vibrated muscle. When vibration is applied to the inferior rectus muscle (IR), it induces the illusion that a stationary fixating point is moving upward. Here we attempted to change the initial eye position signal supplied to the oculomotor system before a memory- or visuo-guided saccade to a 10 degrees left target by applying mechanical vibration to the IR muscle. We wanted to determine whether modifying extraocular proprioceptive cues during the programming phase of a saccade might affect the latter's trajectory. In the memory-guided condition, it was observed that the saccades ended lower down when vibration was applied than in the control condition. Conversely, the visuo-guided saccades were not affected by the vibration. The above results mean first that extraocular proprioceptive cues are used as an initial eye position signal when a memory guided saccade has to be planned. Secondly, they suggest that extraocular proprioception may not be used to produce a visuo-guided saccade, or that this type of saccade is computed solely on the basis of retinal cues.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology*
  • Optical Illusions
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Proprioception / physiology*
  • Saccades / physiology*
  • Vibration
  • Vision, Ocular / physiology*
  • Visual Perception / physiology