Neuronal mechanisms for visual stability: Progress and problems

Robert H. Wurtz, Wilsaan Joiner, Rebecca A. Berman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


How our vision remains stable in spite of the interruptions produced by saccadic eye movements has been a repeatedly revisited perceptual puzzle. The major hypothesis is that a corollary discharge (CD) or efference copy signal provides information that the eye has moved, and this information is used to compensate for the motion. There has been progress in the search for neuronal correlates of such a CD in the monkey brain, the best animal model of the human visual system. In this article, we briefly summarize the evidence for a CD pathway to frontal cortex, and then consider four questions on the relation of neuronal mechanisms in the monkey brain to stable visual perception. First, how can we determine whether the neuronal activity is related to stable visual perception? Second, is the activity a possible neuronal correlate of the proposed transsaccadic memory hypothesis of visual stability? Third, are the neuronal mechanisms modified by visual attention and does our perceived visual stability actually result from neuronal mechanisms related primarily to the central visual field? Fourth, does the pathway from superior colliculus through the pulvinar nucleus to visual cortex contribute to visual stability through suppression of the visual blur produced by saccades? This journal is

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)492-503
Number of pages12
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1564
StatePublished - Feb 27 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Corollary discharge
  • Efference copy
  • Frontal eye field
  • Medial dorsal nucleus
  • Superior colliculus
  • Visual stability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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