A model that integrates eye velocity commands to keep track of smooth eye displacements

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Abstract

Past results have reported conflicting findings on the oculomotor system's ability to keep track of smooth eye movements in darkness. Whereas some results indicate that saccades cannot compensate for smooth eye displacements, others report that memory-guided saccades during smooth pursuit are spatially correct. Recently, it was shown that the amount of time before the saccade made a difference: short-latency saccades were retinotopically coded, whereas long-latency saccades were spatially coded. Here, we propose a model of the saccadic system that can explain the available experimental data. The novel part of this model consists of a delayed integration of efferent smooth eye velocity commands. Two alternative physiologically realistic neural mechanisms for this integration stage are proposed. Model simulations accurately reproduced prior findings. Thus, this model reconciles the earlier contradictory reports from the literature about compensation for smooth eye movements before saccades because it involves a slow integration process.

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