Bringing Order to Visual Chaos

in Brainy Stuff


One odd thing about our visual functioning is how the world around us seems stationary even though our eyes dart back and forth several times a second in order to see. These tiny motions of the eyes are called saccades. If we saw the world through our saccades, it would be like having a “movie camera on top of a jumping bronco,” according to one scientist.

So why don’t we see a jumpy jittery world when we look around? Scientists think they have found a brain mechanism that subtracts the motion element from these saccades. Every time the brain sends the eyes a signal to perform a saccade, a region of the brain anticipates where the the eye’s center of focus will move after the saccade. Essentially, the saccade signal runs through a type of switch that discharges the motion component.

Source: Scientific American

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