Gaze and attention: mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effect of optokinetic stimulation in spatial neglect

Hilary Chan, Alexandra Mitchell, Eilidh Sandilands, Daniela Balslev*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Left smooth pursuit eye movement training in response to large-field visual motion (optokinetic stimulation) has become a promising rehabilitation method in left spatial inattention or neglect. The mechanisms underlying the therapeutic effect, however, remain unknown. During optokinetic stimulation, there is an error in visual localization ahead of the line of sight. This could indicate a change in the brain’s estimate of one’s own direction of gaze. We hypothesized that optokinetic stimulation changes the brain’s estimate of gaze. Because this estimate is critical for coding the locus of attention in the visual space relative to the body and across sensory modalities, its change might underlie the change in spatial attention. Here, we report that in healthy participants optokinetic stimulation causes not only a directional bias in the proprioceptive signal from the extraocular muscles, but also a corresponding shift of the locus of attention. Both changes outlasted the period of stimulation. This result forms a step in investigating a causal link between the adaptation in the sensorimotor gaze signals and the recovery in spatial neglect.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108883
Number of pages10
JournalNeuropsychologia
Volume199
Early online date30 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Ocular
  • Proprioceptive
  • Visual
  • Oculomotor
  • Attention
  • Spatial
  • Human

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