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On the optokinetic response during step-wise changes in stimulus velocity in squirrel monkeys.

  • Kröller, J
  • Behrens, F
Published Article
Journal of vestibular research : equilibrium & orientation
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
PMID: 9057158


In two awake untrained squirrel monkeys the horizontal optokinetic nystagmus (OKN) was studied. The goal was to quantify the buildup of the slow-phase eye movement velocity during the first two seconds and the eye movements after OKN interruption by a stationary surround. We intended to uncover possible effects of a "charged' velocity storage on eye movements at a stationary surround. Using an optokinetic drum, a paradigm was designed to create sudden changes of the pattern (within 5 ms) between appearing to be stationary or rotating. Velocity steps from zero to 14 to 73 degrees/s and back to zero could be achieved. OKN onset: 201 velocity trajectories were analyzed. The mean latency between the onset of pattern movement and the onset of slow-phase eye movements was 82.8 +/- 16.5 ms. Over a limited period the initial increase in slow-phase velocity could be approximated by a straight line. The slope was on average 103 +/- 67 degrees/s2 and did not show a significant dependency on pattern movement velocity. Eye movement velocity at the end of the linear part increased linearly with drum velocity; the slope was 0.59. After the linear range, the slow-phase velocity increased further but at slower accelerations and usually reached the final gain within the two seconds. The initial linear acceleration component is an open-loop reflex response and we conclude that closing the loop happens when about 60% of the stimulus velocity is reached. OKN-offset: The influence of a fully charged OKN velocity storage mechanism on eye movements after a sudden exposure of a stationary surround was studied in 23 trials. After OKN interruption the velocity decay commenced after an interval of 83.5 +/- 16.6 ms. On average the slope of the consecutive linear velocity decay was -195.4 +/- 83.6 degrees/s2. During 5.8 +/- 0.98 s the OKN still had some impact on the fixating eye movements. We conclude that this time represents the time for velocity storage discharging. An active process seems to control the impact of velocity storage on eye movements.

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