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Saccade-like behavior in the fast-phases of optokinetic nystagmus: an illustration of the emergence of volitional actions from automatic reflexes

Harrison, James J., Freeman, Tom C.A. and Sumner, Petroc 2014. Saccade-like behavior in the fast-phases of optokinetic nystagmus: an illustration of the emergence of volitional actions from automatic reflexes. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General 143 (5) , pp. 1923-1938. 10.1037/a0037021

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Abstract

As a potential exemplar for understanding how volitional actions emerged from reflexes, we studied the relationship between an ancient reflexive gaze stabilization mechanism (optokinetic nystagmus [OKN]) and purposeful eye movements (saccades) that target an object. Traditionally, these have been considered distinct (except in the kinematics of their execution) and have been studied independently. We find that the fast-phases of OKN clearly show properties associated with saccade planning: (a) They are characteristically delayed by irrelevant distractors in an indistinguishable way to saccades (the saccadic inhibition effect), and (b) horizontal OKN fast-phases produce curvature in vertical targeting saccades, just like a competing saccade plan. Thus, we argue that the saccade planning network plays a role in the production of OKN fast-phases, and we question the need for a strict distinction between eye movements that appear to be automatic or volitional. We discuss whether our understanding might benefit from shifting perspective and considering the entire “saccade” system to have developed from an increasingly sophisticated OKN system.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Psychology
Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
Additional Information: This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.
Publisher: American Psychological Association
ISSN: 0096-3445
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 4 April 2014
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2020 05:00
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/66988

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