Dr. Martina Poletti


Dr. Martina Poletti, PhD
Department of Neuroscience
Center for Visual Science
University of Rochester

Date and Time

Monday, April 1, 2019
11:10 am - 12:30 pm


489 Minor Hall
Berkeley, CA

Dr. Martina Poletti's Abstract

An eye for detail: Attention and eye movements at the foveal scale

In humans, high visual acuity is restricted to a small (~1%) region of the retina: the foveola. Even if the foveola covers less than 1% of the visual field, the stimulus within this region can be complex, particularly when examining natural scenes. What are the contributions of attention and eye movements to foveal vision? Thanks to a combination of techniques allowing for high-resolution recordings of eye position, retinal stabilization, and accurate gaze localization, we examined how attention and eye movements are controlled at this scale. We have shown that during fixation, visual exploration of fine spatial detail unfolds following visuomotor strategies similar to those occurring at a larger scale. This behavior compensates for non-homogenous visual capabilities within the foveola and is finely controlled by attention, which facilitates processing at selected foveal locations. These recent findings reveal that, contrary to common intuition, placing the stimulus within the foveola is necessary but not sufficient for high visual acuity; fine spatial vision is the outcome of an orchestrated synergy of motor, cognitive, and attentional factors.