Boston University Arts & Sciences

CAS News: September 15 2010


Associate Professor of Psychology Michele Rucci, recent Cognitive & Neural Systems PhD recipient Hee-kyoung Ko (GRS'09), and Department of Psychology post-doctoral associate Martina Poletti authored an article published in Nature Neuroscience on October 31. The paper is titled "Microsaccades precisely relocate gaze in a high visual acuity task," and it explores the role of microscopic relocations of gaze in helping humans perform fine visual tasks.

The image on the retina is never stationary. Microscopic relocations of gaze, known as microsaccades, occur even during steady fixation. It is a long-standing proposal that microsaccades enable exploration of small regions in the scene in the same way saccades are normally used to scan larger regions. This hypothesis, however, has remained controversial, since it is believed that microsaccades are suppressed during fine spatial judgments. The authors examined the eye movements of human observers in a high-acuity visuomotor task, the threading of a needle in a computer-simulated virtual environment. By using a method for gaze-contingent display that enables accurate localization of the line of sight, they show that microsaccades precisely move the eye to nearby regions of interest and are dynamically modulated by the ongoing demands of the task. These results demonstrate that microsaccades are part of the oculomotor strategy by which the visual system acquires fine spatial detail.

Return to the November 1, 2010 Newsletter

Keep Us in the Loop

Let us know about news or upcoming events. Please send news items to, or call Patrick Farrell at 617-358-1185. Announcements about upcoming events can also be submitted online. Events geared toward students should be submitted to the Student Programs Office.

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director of Alumni Relations Kirsten Lundeen at 617-358-5525 or Alumni Relations Coordinator Lauren Hall at 617-353-1060.

Boston University

Boston University
Arts & Sciences
725 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215