Localization of the plane of regard in space
SourceExperimental Brain Research, 163, 4, (2005), pp. 457-467
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ DCC AI
Experimental Brain Research
SubjectCognitive artificial intelligence
When we fixate an object in space, the rotation centers of the eyes, together with the object, define a plane of regard. People perceive the elevation of objects relative to this plane accurately, irrespective of eye or head orientation (Poljac et al. (2004) Vision Res, in press). Yet, to create a correct representation of objects in space, the orientation of the plane of regard in space is required. Subjects pointed along an eccentric vertical line on a touch screen to the location where their plane of regard intersected the touch screen positioned on their right. The distance of the vertical line to the subject's eyes varied from 10 to 40 cm. Subjects were sitting upright and fixating one of the nine randomly presented directions ranging from 20 degrees left and down to 20 degrees right and up relative to their straight ahead. The eccentricity of fixations relative to the pointing location varied by up to 40 degrees. Subjects underestimated the elevation of their plane of regard (on average by 3.69 cm, SD=1.44 cm), regardless of the fixation direction or pointing distance. However, when the targets were shown on a display mounted in a table, to provide support of the subject's hand throughout the trial, subjects pointed accurately (average error 0.3 cm, SD=0.8 cm). In addition, head tilt 20 degrees to the left or right did not cause any change in accuracy. The bias observed in the first task could be caused by maintained tonus in arm muscles when the arm is raised, that might interfere with the transformation from visual to motor signals needed to perform the pointing movement. We conclude that the plane of regard is correctly localized in space. This may be a good starting point for representing objects in head-centric coordinates.
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