To maintain a stable representation of the visual environment as we move, the brain must update the locations of targets in space using extra-retinal signals. Humans can accurately update after intervening active whole-body translations. But can they also update for passive translations (i.e., without efference copy signals of an outgoing motor command)? We asked six head-fixed subjects to remember the location of a briefly flashed target (five possible targets were located at depths of 23, 33, 43, 63, and 150 cm in front of the cyclopean eye) as they moved 10 cm left, right, up, down, forward, or backward while fixating a head-fixed target at 53 cm. After the movement, the subjects made a saccade to the remembered location of the flash with a combination of version and vergence eye movements. We computed an updating ratio where 0 indicates no updating and 1 indicates perfect updating. For lateral and vertical whole-body motion, where updating performance is judged by the size of the version movement, the updating ratios were similar for leftward and rightward translations, averaging 0.84 ± 0.28 (mean ± SD) as compared with 0.51 ± 0.33 for downward and 1.05 ± 0.50 for upward translations. For forward/backward movements, where updating performance is judged by the size of the vergence movement, the average updating ratio was 1.12 ± 0.45. Updating ratios tended to be larger for far targets than near targets, although both intra- and intersubject variabilities were smallest for near targets. Thus in addition to self-generated movements, extra-retinal signals involving otolith and proprioceptive cues can also be used for spatial constancy.
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