Ocular proprioception and efference copy in registering visual direction
We measured the roles of eye muscle proprioception (“inflow”) and efference copy (“outflow”) in registering eye position. During monocular fixation, pressing on the side of an occluded eye results in a passive rotation, changing the proprioception without affecting oculomotor efference. As we have shown previously, a constant press on the side of the viewing eye induces active resistance to rotation, changing efference because oculomotor innervation compensates for the eyepress; the viewing eye's fixation remains constant. Using these two types of eyepress, both perceived target deviations and pointing biases in an unstructured visual field were measured in 8 subjects under efference copy, proprioception and control (no eyepress) conditions. Eye deviation was measured photoelectrically. Physiological gains of efference copy and proprioception were about5/8 and1/4 respectively. There was no statistically significant difference between perceptual judgement and open-loop pointing. The sum of gains of efference copy and proprioception, about7/8, indicates incomplete registration of eye eccentricity in an unstructured field, and quantitatively accounts for several previously unexplained results in the literature.