(41/868) Visual control of postural orientation and equilibrium in congenital nystagmus.

PURPOSE: To investigate how humans with congenital nystagmus (CN) use visual information to stabilize and orient their bodies in space. METHODS: Center of foot pressure (COP) and head displacements in the lateral plane were recorded using a sway platform and Schottky barrier photodetector, respectively. In experiment 1, a comparison was made of the oscillatory characteristics of body sway with eyes open compared with eyes closed. Experiment 2 studied the postural readjustments made in response to absolute or relative motion (motion parallax) of objects in the visual scene, generated by lateral displacement of background scenery. RESULTS: Experiment 1 revealed that subjects with CN were not able to use visual information to stabilize COP but were able to stabilize the head at frequencies lower than 1 Hz. Experiment 2 showed that in response to the displacement of a visual display, for both absolute motion and motion parallax, subjects with CN reoriented their body in space in a manner similar to control subjects. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that despite involuntary eye movements, subjects with CN use orientation cues to control their posture, but not dynamic cues useful to control the rapid oscillations that are particularly important at the level of COP. These findings suggest that in CN, visual control of posture is restricted by low-frequency sampling of the visual scene.  (+info)

(42/868) Exploring sequential stereopsis for co-planarity tasks.

We used the sequential stereopsis paradigm and apparatus described by Enright (Vision Research, 36, (1996) 307-312). The observer's task was to set targets to equidistance in Experiments 1-3, and to make them co-planar in Experiment 4. However, it is argued that in all experiments observers exploited a co-planarity setting strategy. Sequential stereopsis produced good performance throughout in terms of low disparity thresholds when head position was varied by rotations around three axes: vertical (azimuth condition); horizontal (elevation); and midline (tilt). It also produced good performance when the targets were shifted in position so that they both lay on one side of the median plane of the head. These results cannot be accounted for by Enright's isovergence hypothesis unless it is extended to incorporate other information about eye positions. Performance was better but not greatly so in control simultaneous stereopsis conditions, nor did it deteriorate much when the observer's view was restricted solely to the targets by removing visibility of the room in which the apparatus was located. Target settings were typically located on a concave arc centred on the median plane. This effect was quantitatively modelled using disparity correction for a relief task of co-planarity (Garding, Porrill, Mayhew, & Frisby. Vision Research, 35 (1995) 703-722). This modelling indicated over-estimations of c.10-20 cm in fixation distance for target distances in the range 71.5-112.5 cm.  (+info)

(43/868) Spatiotemporal properties of fast and slow neurons in the pretectal nucleus lentiformis mesencephali in pigeons.

Neurons in the pretectal nucleus lentiformis mesencephali (LM) are involved in the analysis of optic flow that results from self-motion. Previous studies have shown that LM neurons have large receptive fields in the contralateral eye, are excited in response to largefield stimuli moving in a particular (preferred) direction, and are inhibited in response to motion in the opposite (anti-preferred) direction. We investigated the responses of LM neurons to sine wave gratings of varying spatial and temporal frequency drifting in the preferred and anti-preferred directions. The LM neurons fell into two categories. "Fast" neurons were maximally excited by gratings of low spatial [0.03-0.25 cycles/ degrees (cpd)] and mid-high temporal frequencies (0.5-16 Hz). "Slow" neurons were maximally excited by gratings of high spatial (0.35-2 cpd) and low-mid temporal frequencies (0.125-2 Hz). Of the slow neurons, all but one preferred forward (temporal to nasal) motion. The fast group included neurons that preferred forward, backward, upward, and downward motion. For most cells (81%), the spatial and temporal frequency that elicited maximal excitation to motion in the preferred direction did not coincide with the spatial and temporal frequency that elicited maximal inhibition to gratings moving in the anti-preferred direction. With respect to motion in the anti-preferred direction, a substantial proportion of the LM neurons (32%) showed bi-directional responses. That is, the spatiotemporal plots contained domains of excitation in addition to the region of inhibition. Neurons tuned to stimulus velocity across different spatial frequency were rare (5%), but some neurons (39%) were tuned to temporal frequency. These results are discussed in relation to previous studies of the responses of neurons in the accessory optic system and pretectum to drifting gratings and other largefield stimuli.  (+info)

(44/868) The task-dependent use of binocular disparity and motion parallax information.

Binocular disparity and motion parallax are powerful cues to the relative depth between objects. However to recover absolute depth, either additional scaling parameters are required to calibrate the information provided by each cue, or it can be recovered through the combination of information from both cues (Richards, W. (1985). Structure from stereo and motion. Journal of the Optical Society of America, 2, 343-349). However, not all tasks necessarily require a full specification of the absolute depth structure of a scene and so psychophysical performance may vary depending on the amount of information available, and the degree to which absolute depth structure is required. The experiments reported here used three different tasks that varied in the type of geometric information required in order for them to be completed successfully. These included a depth nulling task, a depth-matching task, and an absolute depth judgement (shape) task. Real world stimuli were viewed (i) monocularly with head movements, (ii) binocularly and static, or (iii) binocularly with head movements. No effect of viewing condition was found whereas there was a large effect of task. Performance was accurate on the matching and nulling tasks and much less accurate on the shape task. The fact that the same perceptual distortions were not evident in all tasks suggests that the visual system can switch strategy according to the demands of the particular task. No evidence was found to suggest that the visual system could exploit the simultaneous presence of disparity and motion parallax.  (+info)

(45/868) Augmented accumbal serotonin levels decrease the preference for a morphine associated environment during withdrawal.

Recent studies have found that acute morphine administration increases serotonin (5-HT) transmission within the nucleus accumbens and other forebrain regions. In contrast, 5-HT transmission is depressed during withdrawal from chronic morphine. We show that pharmacological agents that increase brain 5-HT levels (fluoxetine or 5-hydoxytryptophan, 5-HTP) abolish the preference of chronically morphine-treated, withdrawn rats for a morphine-associated environment. Similar results were seen when fluoxetine was microinjected into the nucleus accumbens. Conversely, rats given morphine acutely showed an enhanced preference for a morphine-associated environment when pretreated with these agents. Fluoxetine also decreased the heightened anxiety found in morphine withdrawn rats. The results of our study indicate that drugs that augment 5-HT levels may reduce the desire for morphine during withdrawal.  (+info)

(46/868) Context compensation in the vestibuloocular reflex during active head rotations.

The vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) needs to modulate its gain depending on target distance to prevent retinal slip during head movements. We investigated gain modulation (context compensation) for binocular gaze stabilization in human subjects during voluntary yaw and pitch head rotations. Movements of each eye were recorded, both when attempting to maintain gaze on a small visual target at straight-ahead in a darkened room and after its disappearance (remembered target). In the analysis, we relied on a binocular coordinate system yielding a version and a vergence component. We examined how frequency and target distance, approached here by using vergence angle, affected the gain and phase of the version component of the VOR and compared the results to the requirements for ideal performance. Linear regression analysis on the version gain-vergence relationship yielded a slope representing the influence of target proximity and an intercept corresponding to the response at zero vergence ("default gain"). The slope of the fitted relationship, divided by the geometrically required slope, provided a measure for the quality of version context compensation ("context gain"). In both yaw and pitch experiments, we found default version gains close to one even for the remembered target condition, indicating that the active VOR for far targets is already close to ideal without visual support. In near target experiments, the presence of visual feedback yielded near unity context gains, indicating close to optimal performance (retinal slip <0.4 degrees /s). For remembered targets, the context gain deteriorated but was still superior to performance in corresponding passive studies reported in the literature. In general, context compensation in the remembered target paradigm was better for vertical than for horizontal head rotations. The phase delay of version eye velocity relative to head velocity was small (approximately 2 degrees) for both horizontal and vertical head movements. Analysis of the vergence data from the near target experiments showed that context compensation took into account that the two eyes require slightly different VORs. In the DISCUSSION, comparison of the present default VOR gains and context gains with data from earlier passive studies has led us to propose a limited role for efference copies during self-generated movements. We also discuss how our analysis can provide a framework for evaluating two different hypotheses for the generation of binocular VOR eye movements.  (+info)

(47/868) Context-specific adaptation of the vertical vestibuloocular reflex with regard to gravity.

We determined whether head position with regard to gravity is an important context for angular vestibuloocular reflex (aVOR) gain adaptation. Vertical aVOR gains were adapted with monkeys upright or on side by rotating the animals about an interaural axis in phase or out of phase with the visual surround for 4 h. When aVOR gains were adapted with monkeys upright, gain changes were symmetrical when tested in either on-side position (23 +/- 7%; mean +/- SD). After on-side adaptation, however, gain changes were always larger when animals were tested in the same on-side position in which they were adapted. Gain changes were 43 +/- 16% with ipsilateral side down and 9 +/- 8% with contralateral side down. The context-specific effects of head position on vertical aVOR gain were the same whether the gain was increased or decreased. The data indicate that vertical aVOR gain changes are stored in the context of the head orientation in which changes were induced. This association could be an important context for expressing the adapted state of the aVOR gain during vertical head movement.  (+info)

(48/868) Central versus peripheral origin of vestibuloocular reflex recovery following semicircular canal plugging in rhesus monkeys.

We have previously shown that there is a slowly progressing, frequency-specific recovery of the gain and phase of the horizontal vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) in rhesus monkeys following plugging of the lateral semicircular canals. The adapted VOR response exhibited both dynamic and spatial characteristics that were distinctly different from responses in intact animals. To discriminate between adaptation or recovery of central versus peripheral origin, we have tested the recovered vestibuloocular responses in three rhesus monkeys in which either one or both coplanar pairs of vertical semicircular canals had been plugged previously by occluding the remaining semicircular canals in a second plugging operation. We measured the spatial tuning of the VOR in two or three different mutually orthogonal planes in response to sinusoidal oscillations (1.1 Hz, +/-5 degrees, +/-35 degrees /s) over a period of 2-3 and 12-14 mo after each operation. Apart from a significant recovery of the torsional/vertical VOR following the first operation we found that these recovered responses were preserved following the second operation, whereas the responses from the newly operated semicircular canals disappeared acutely as expected. In the follow-up period of up to 3 mo after the second operation, responses from the last operated canals showed recovery in two of three animals, whereas the previously recovered responses persisted. The results suggest that VOR recovery following plugging may depend on a regained residual sensitivity of the plugged semicircular canals to angular head acceleration.  (+info)