Welcome to grad student Bobby Innes ! Bobby is joining the lab to investigate how the brain integrates the available sensorimotor signals to estimate the rotation of one's own eyes in the orbits. This information is critical for our ability to reach or attend to visual objects.
There are two eye position signals. Each signal has its advantages. The copy of the oculomotor command or corollary discharge is fast, available even before the eyes have moved. The reafferent feedback from the eye muscles or proprioception takes about 100 ms to reach the cerebral cortex. Oculoproprioception is, however, the most accurate reflection of the current eye position.
We are asking whether these signals are combined or not in a multimodal estimate of eye position. If they are combined, what is the criterion for their optimization ? Is this criterion fixed or flexible, tailored to suit the behavioral goal best ? Is the eye special or does the integration of the oculomotor and oculoproprioceptive signals follow the same principles as the sensorimotor integration for hand control or for multisensory integration ?
Hopefully we should soon have some answers, so stay tuned.
Bobby is funded by a BBSRC/EASBIO PhD studentship (2014-2018) and is supervised by Daniela Balslev and Tom Otto.