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Department of Psychology

Staff

Publication details for Professor John Findlay

Liversedge S P Rayner K, White S J Findlay J M & McSorley E (2006). Binocular coordination of the eyes during reading. Current Biology 16(17): 1726-1729.

Author(s) from Durham

Abstract

Saccadic eye movements and fixations are the behavioral means by which we visually sample text during reading. Human oculomotor control is governed by a complex neurophysiological system involving the brain stem, superior colliculus, and several cortical areas 1 and 2. A very widely held belief among researchers investigating primate vision is that the oculomotor system serves to orient the visual axes of both eyes to fixate the same target point in space. It is argued that such precise positioning of the eyes is necessary to place images on corresponding retinal locations, such that on each fixation a single, nondiplopic, visual representation is perceived [3]. Vision works actively through a continual sampling process involving saccades and fixations [4]. Here we report that during normal reading, the eyes do not always fixate the same letter within a word. We also demonstrate that saccadic targeting is yoked and based on a unified cyclopean percept of a whole word since it is unaffected if different word parts are delivered exclusively to each eye via a dichoptic presentation technique. These two findings together suggest that the visual signal from each eye is fused at a very early stage in the visual pathway, even when the fixation disparity is greater than one character (0.29 deg), and that saccade metrics for each eye are computed on the basis of that fused signal.