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Ronen Segev; Decorrelation of retinal response to natural scenes by fixational eye movements. Journal of Vision 2013;13(9):1379. doi: 10.1167/13.9.1379.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Fixational eye movements are critical for vision since without them the retina adapts fast to a stationary image and the entire visual perception fades away in a matter of seconds. Still, the connection between fixational eye movements and retinal encoding is not fully understood. To address this issue, it was suggested theoretically that fixational eye movements are required to reduce the spatial correlations which are typical for natural scenes. The goal of our study was to put this theoretical prediction under experimental test. Using a multi electrode array, we measured the response of the tiger salamander retina to movies which simulated two types of stimuli: fixational eye movements over a natural scene and flash followed by static view of a natural scene. Then we calculated the cross-correlation in the response of the ganglion cells as a function of receptive field distance. We found that when static natural images are projected, strong spatial correlations are present in the neural response due to correlation in the natural scene. However, in the presence of fixational eye movements, the level of correlation in the neural response drops much faster as a function of distance which results in effective decorrelation of the channels streaming information to the brain. This observation confirms the prediction that fixational eye movement act to reduce the correlations in retinal response and provides better understanding of the contribution of fixational eye movements to the information processing by the retina.
Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2013
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