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Rotational kinematics of the human vestibuloocular reflex. III. Listing's law.

1. Do slow phase eye velocities generated by the vestibuloocular reflex (VOR) depend on eye position? If the purpose of the VOR is simply to stabilize the retinal image, there can be no such dependence, because eye velocity must always be equal and opposite to head velocity. But if the VOR tolerates some retinal slip to achieve other goals, such as reducing eye velocity or following Listing's law, then one should see specific patterns of dependence. We examined VOR responses of human subjects to yaw, pitch, and roll rotation looking in various directions to quantify how the input-output properties of the VOR vary with eye position. 2. Eye rotation axes during yaw and pitch tilted in the same direction as the gaze line but only one-quarter as far on average. Thus, during yaw head rotation, the axis of eye rotation was roughly aligned with the head axis when the subject looked straight ahead, but tilted up when the gaze direction was up, and down when gaze was down. The amount of tilt varied between subjects, but on average a 30 degrees change in eye position caused a 7.5 degrees tilt in the eye rotation axis. During pitch, the eye axis tilted right when gaze was right and left when gaze was left, also moving 7.5 degrees on average for a 30 degrees change in the gaze direction. 3. During roll stimulation, the axis of eye rotation tilted in the opposite direction to the gaze line, and about one-half as far. On average, when the gaze line moved 30 degrees down, the eye rotation axis tilted 12.0 degrees up; when the gaze moved 30 degrees left, the eye axis tilted 15.3 degrees right. 4. It is often argued that the torsional VOR is weak because head rotation about the line of sight causes little image displacement on the fovea. But the line of sight is collinear with the torsional axis only when the subject looks straight ahead. Does the "weak axis" of the VOR stay collinear with the gaze line when the subject looks eccentrically? We calculated the axis of head rotation for which the VOR response is weakest and found that it does vary with eye position, but does not stay parallel with the gaze direction. When subjects looked straight ahead, the weak axis was roughly collinear with the gaze line; when gaze shifted eccentrically, the weak axis shifted in the same direction but only about one-half as far.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Pubmed ID: 7884474 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Acceleration | Adult | Attention | Eye Movements | Female | Fixation, Ocular | Humans | Kinesthesis | Male | Middle Aged | Motion Perception | Neck Muscles | Neural Pathways | Oculomotor Muscles | Oculomotor Nerve | Orientation | Postural Balance | Pursuit, Smooth | Reflex, Vestibulo-Ocular | Retina | Rotation | Vestibular Nuclei | Visual Perception