Effect of Stimulus Type and Motion on Smooth Pursuit in Adults and Children

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This study presents a two-degree customized animated stimulus developed to evaluate smooth pursuit in children and investigates the effect of its predetermined characteristics (stimulus type and size) in an adult population. Then, the animated stimulus is used to evaluate the impact of different pursuit motion paradigms in children.


To study the effect of animating a stimulus, eye movement recordings were obtained from 20 young adults while the customized animated stimulus and a standard dot stimulus were presented moving horizontally at a constant velocity. To study the effect of using a larger stimulus size, eye movement recordings were obtained from 10 young adults while presenting a standard dot stimulus of different size (1° and 2°) moving horizontally at a constant velocity. Finally, eye movement recordings were obtained from 12 children while the 2° customized animated stimulus was presented after three different smooth pursuit motion paradigms. Performance parameters, including gains and number of saccades, were calculated for each stimulus condition.


The animated stimulus produced in young adults significantly higher velocity gain (mean: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.90–0.96; P = .014), position gain (0.93; 0.85–1; P = .025), proportion of smooth pursuit (0.94; 0.91–0.96, P = .002), and fewer saccades (5.30; 3.64–6.96, P = .008) than a standard dot (velocity gain: 0.87; 0.82–0.92; position gain: 0.82; 0.72–0.92; proportion smooth pursuit: 0.87; 0.83–0.90; number of saccades: 7.75; 5.30–10.46). In contrast, changing the size of a standard dot stimulus from 1° to 2° did not have an effect on smooth pursuit in young adults (P > .05). Finally, smooth pursuit performance did not significantly differ in children for the different motion paradigms when using the animated stimulus (P > .05).


Attention-grabbing and more dynamic stimuli, such as the developed animated stimulus, might potentially be useful for eye movement research. Finally, with such stimuli, children perform equally well irrespective of the motion paradigm used.

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