“Eye movements as a window into decision making”. Miriam Spering (Associate Professor, Dept of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia) Co-Sponsored with Rutgers Brain Health Institute (BHI)
Tuesday, October 26, 2021, 01:00pm
Seeing and perceiving the visual world is an active and often multimodal process that involves orienting eyes, head and body towards an object of interest. It is also a highly dynamic process during which the eyes continuously scan the visual environment to sample information. Eye movements are used in many contexts and by many research disciplines, ranging from developmental and cognitive psychology to computer science and art history, to measure visual perception, object categorization, recognition, and other mental processes.
My research group uses human eye movements as sensitive indicators of performance in real-world interceptive tasks. Tasks such as catching prey or hitting a ball require prediction of an object’s trajectory from a brief glance at its motion, and an ultrafast decision about whether, when and where to intercept. I will present results from two research programs that use eye movements as a readout of these types of decision processes. The first series of studies investigates go/no-go decision making in healthy human adults and baseball athletes and reveals that eye movements are sensitive indicators of decision accuracy and timing. The second set of studies probes decision making in patients with motor deficits due to Parkinson’s disease and shows differential impairments in visual, motor and cognitive function in these patients. I will conclude that eye movements are both an excellent model system for prediction and decision making, and an important contributor to successful motor performance.