Torsional eye movements during psychophysical testing with rotating patterns

M. R. Ibbotson, N. S.C. Price, V. E. Das, M. A. Hietanen, M. J. Mustari

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Torsional eye movements were measured while subjects viewed a large, high contrast windmill pattern rotating at 53°/s or a small (5° diameter) dot pattern rotating at 115°/s. Both stimuli generated rotational eye movements consisting of torsional optokinetic nystagmus (tOKN) superimposed on a slow torsional drift in the direction of pattern rotation. With the wide-field windmill stimulus, torsional drifts of up to 7° over 20 s were found. The dot pattern produced drifts of up to 2° over 5-20 s. In both cases, the slow-phase speeds during tOKN were low (0.5-1°/s). We conclude that reductions in slip speed are minimal with rotating stimuli, so torsional eye speeds will have a minimal effect on investigations of rotational motion aftereffect strength and perceived speed. While the slow-phase tOKN gain is low, the slow drift in torsional eye position will have significant effects on psychophysical results when the tests rely on keeping selected regions of the stimulus confined to specific areas of the retina, as is the case for phantom or remote motion aftereffects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-267
Number of pages4
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Global motion
  • Motion aftereffect
  • Ocular torsion
  • OKN
  • Phantom MAE

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