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Dongjun He, Ce Mo, Fang Fang; Predictive feature remapping before saccadic eye movements. Journal of Vision 2017;17(5):14. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/17.5.14.
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Saccadic eye movements cause rapid and dramatic displacements of the retinal image of the visual world, yet our conscious perception of the world remains stable and continuous. A popular explanation for this remarkable ability of our visual system to compensate for the displacements is the predictive feature remapping theory. The theory proposes that, before saccades, the representation of a visual stimulus can be predictively transferred from neurons that initially encode the stimulus to neurons whose receptive fields will encompass the stimulus location after the saccade. Visual adaptation aftereffect experiments performed by Melcher (2007) provided psychophysical evidence for this theory. However, it was argued that the visual aftereffects were not measured at the “appropriate” remapped location (Rolfs, Jonikaitis, Deubel, & Cavanagh, 2011). Therefore, whether the remapped representation contains feature information (e.g., orientation, motion direction, or contrast) is still a subject of intense debate. Here, to explore the nature of the predictive transfer during trans-saccadic perception, we measured visual aftereffects (tilt aftereffect, motion aftereffect, and threshold elevation aftereffect) at the appropriate remapped location of adapting stimuli before saccades. We observed a significant tilt aftereffect and motion aftereffect, but little threshold elevation aftereffect. Furthermore, the tilt aftereffect and motion aftereffect exhibited spatial specificity. These findings provide strong evidence for the predictive feature remapping theory and suggest that intermediate visual processing stages (i.e., extrastriate visual cortex) might be critical for feature remapping. Finally, we propose that the feature remapping process might also contribute to the spatiotopic representation of visual features.
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