Processing at the center-of-gaze (fovea)
Humans are visual animals, and much of our skilled behavior is guided by high-acuity vision. This information is processed almost entirely at the center-of-gaze or ‘fovea’, which is why you are moving your eyes constantly as you read this text. As a result of purely technical limitations, there is still a large gap in knowledge about how neural signals are processed in the foveal regions of the visual system. Specifically, the high spatial sensitivity within the foveal visual pathway requires not only that presented stimuli needs to have very high spatial resolution, but also that their location needs to be very finely controlled. Because these challenges have not yet been overcome, we confront the ironic situation where most of what we know about the neural mechanisms of vision arguably do not tell us directly about those aspects that are most ‘central’ to human vision.
Relevant publications and presentations
- Yates JL, Coop S, Wu RJ, Butts DA, Rucci M, Mitchell JF (2021) Beyond Fixation: detailed characterization of neural selectivity in free-viewing primates. bioRxiv 2021.11.06.467566
- McFarland JM, Cumming BG, Butts DA (2016) Variability and correlations in primary visual cortical neurons driven by fixational eye movements. Journal of Neuroscience 36: 6225-41. [Journal website]
- McFarland JM, Bondy AG, Cumming BG, Butts DA (2014) High-resolution eye tracking using V1 neuron activity. Nature Communications 5: 4605. [Online] [Code]