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Title: The interaction between human vision and eye movements in health and disease
Author: Sylvester, R. J.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2727 0983
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2010
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Human motor behaviour depends on the successful integration of vision and eye movements. Many studies have investigated neural correlates of visual processing in humans, but typically with the eyes stationary and fixated centrally. Similarly, many studies have sought to characterise which brain areas are responsible for oculomotor control, but generally in the absence of visual stimulation. The few studies to explicitly study the interaction between visual perception and eye movements suggest strong influences of both static and dynamic eye position on visual processing and modulation of oculomotor structures by properties of visual stimuli. However, the neural mechanisms underlying these interactions are poorly understood. This thesis uses a range of fMRI methodologies such as retinotopic mapping, multivariate analsyis techniques, dynamic causal modelling and ultra high resolution imaging to examine the interactions between the oculomotor and visual systems in the normal human brain. The results of the experiments presented in this thesis demonstrate that oculomotor behaviour has complex effects on activity in visual areas, while spatial properites of visual stimuli modify activity in oculomotor areas. Specifically, responses in the lateral geniculate nucleus and early cortical visual areas are modulated by saccadic eye movements (a process potentially mediated by the frontal eye fields) and by changes in static eye position. Additionally, responses in oculomotor structures such as the superior colliculus are biased for visual stimuli presented in the temporal rather than nasal hemifield. These findings reveal that although the visual and oculomotor systems are spatially segregated in the brain, they show a high degree of integration at the neural level. This is consistent with our everyday experience of the visual world where frequent eye movements do not lead to disruption of visual continuity and visual information is seamlessly transformed into motor behaviour.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available