The role of ocular muscle proprioception in visual localization of targets

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Science  06 Jul 1990:
Vol. 249, Issue 4964, pp. 58-61
DOI: 10.1126/science.2367852


The role of ocular muscle proprioception in the localization of visual targets has been investigated in normal humans by deviating one eye to create an experimental strabismus. The passively deviated eye was covered and the other eye viewed the target. With a hand-pointing task, targets were systematically mislocalized in the direction of the deviated nonviewing eye. A 4- to 6-degree error resulted when the nonviewing eye was offset 30 degrees from straight ahead. When the eye was deviated, the perceived "straight-ahead" was also displaced, by a similar amount, in the same direction. Since the efferent motor commands to the displaced and to the nondisplaced eyes are presumably identical by the law of equal innervation, the mislocalization of visual objects must be attributed to the change in proprioceptive information issued from the nonviewing, deviated eye. Thus proprioception contributes to the localization of objects in space.

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