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Diederick C. Niehorster, Wilfred W. F. Siu, Li Li; Manual tracking enhances smooth pursuit eye movements. Journal of Vision 2015;15(15):11. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/15.15.11.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Previous studies have reported that concurrent manual tracking enhances smooth pursuit eye movements only when tracking a self-driven or a predictable moving target. Here, we used a control-theoretic approach to examine whether concurrent manual tracking enhances smooth pursuit of an unpredictable moving target. In the eye-hand tracking condition, participants used their eyes to track a Gaussian target that moved randomly along a horizontal axis. In the meantime, they used their dominant hand to move a mouse to control the horizontal movement of a Gaussian cursor to vertically align it with the target. In the eye-alone tracking condition, the target and cursor positions recorded in the eye-hand tracking condition were replayed, and participants only performed eye tracking of the target. Catch-up saccades were identified and removed from the recorded eye movements, allowing for a frequency-response analysis of the smooth pursuit response to unpredictable target motion. We found that the overall smooth pursuit gain was higher and the number of catch-up saccades made was less when eye tracking was accompanied by manual tracking than when not. We conclude that concurrent manual tracking enhances smooth pursuit. This enhancement is a fundamental property of eye-hand coordination that occurs regardless of the predictability of the target motion.
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