ספרים ומאמרים

  • Oculomotor inhibition markers of working memory load

    Oculomotor inhibition markers of working memory load

    מחבר Oren Kadosh , Kfir Inbal , Hadar Snir , Yoram S Bonneh

    תקציר

    Involuntary eye movements occur constantly even during fixation and were shown to convey information about cognitive processes. They are inhibited momentarily in response to external stimuli (oculomotor inhibition, OMI), with a time and magnitude that depend on stimulus saliency, attention, and expectations. It was recently shown that the working memory load for numbers modulates the microsaccade rate; however, the generality of the effect and its temporal properties remain unclear. Our goal was to investigate the relationship between OMI and the working memory load for simple colored shapes. Participants (N = 26) maintained their fixation while their eyes were tracked; they viewed briefly flashed colored shapes accompanied by small arrows indicating the shapes to be memorized (1/2/3). After a retention period, a probe shape appeared for matching. The microsaccade rate modulation and temporal properties were analyzed for the memory encoding, maintenance, and retrieval phases. Microsaccade inhibition was stronger when more shapes were memorized, and performance improved when microsaccades were suppressed during maintenance and retrieval. This occurred even though the physical stimuli were identical in number under all conditions. Thus, oculomotor inhibition may play a role in silencing the visual input while processing current stimuli and is generally related to processing time and load.

    Read more

  • Oculomotor randomness is higher in autistic children and increases with the severity of symptoms

    Oculomotor randomness is higher in autistic children and increases with the severity of symptoms

    מחבר Inbal Ziv , Inbar Avni , Ilan Dinstein, Gal Meiri , Yoram S Bonneh

    תקציר

     

    A variety of studies have suggested that at least some children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) view the world differently. Differences in gaze patterns as measured by eye tracking have been demonstrated during visual exploration of images and natural viewing of movies with social content. Here we analyzed the temporal randomness of saccades and blinks during natural viewing of movies, inspired by a recent measure of “randomness” applied to micro-movements of the hand and head in ASD (Torres et al., 2013; Torres & Denisova, 2016). We analyzed a large eye-tracking dataset of 189 ASD and 41 typically developing (TD) children (1–11 years old) who watched three movie clips with social content, each repeated twice. We found that oculomotor measures of randomness, obtained from gamma parameters of inter-saccade intervals (ISI) and blink duration distributions, were significantly higher in the ASD group compared with the TD group and were correlated with the ADOS comparison score, reflecting increased “randomness” in more severe cases. Moreover, these measures of randomness decreased with age, as well as with higher cognitive scores in both groups and were consistent across repeated viewing of each movie clip. Highly “random” eye movements in ASD children could be associated  with high “neural variability” or noise, poor sensory-motor control, or weak engagement with the movies. These findings could contribute to the future development of

    .oculomotor biomarkers as part of an integrative diagnostic tool for ASD

    Read more

  • Isolating objective and subjective filling-in using the drift diffusion model

    מחבר Ron Dekel, Dov Sagi, Ativ Zomet, Dennis M Levi, Uri Polat

    תקציר

    Spatial context is known to influence the behavioral sensitivity (d') and the decision criterion (c) when detecting low-contrast targets. Of interest here is the effect on the decision criterion. Polat and Sagi (2007) demonstrated that, for a Gabor target positioned between two similar co-aligned high-contrast flankers, the observers' reports of seeing the target (Hit and False Alarm) decreased with increasing target-flanker distance. This effect was more pronounced when the distance was randomized within testing blocks compared to when it was fixed. According to signal detection theory (SDT), the latter result suggests that the decision criterion is adjusted to a specific distance-dependent combination of signal (S) and noise (N) when the S and N statistics are fixed, but not when they vary across trials. However, SDT cannot differentiate between changes in the decision bias (the criterion shift) and changes introduced by variations in S and N (the signal and noise shift). To circumvent this limitation of SDT, we analyzed the reaction time (RT) data within the framework of the drift diffusion model (DDM). We performed an RT analysis of the target-flanker interactions using data from Polat and Sagi (2007) and Zomet et al. (2008; 2016). The analysis revealed a stronger dependence on flankers for faster RTs and a weaker dependence for slower RTs. The results can be explained by DDM, where an evidence accumulation process depends on the flankers via a change in the rate of the evidence (signal and noise shift) and on observers' prior knowledge via a change in the starting point (criterion shift), leading to RT-independent and RT-dependent effects, respectively. The RT-independent distance-dependent response bias is attributed to the observers' inability to learn multiple internal distributions required to accommodate the distance-dependent effects of the flankers on both the signal and noise.

    Read more

  • Space, time, and dynamics of binocular interactions

    Space, time, and dynamics of binocular interactions

    מחבר Marzouk Yassin , Maria Lev , Uri Polat

    תקציר

    Binocular summation (BS), defined as the superiority of binocular over monocular visual performance, shows that thresholds are about 40% (a factor of 1.4) better in binocular than in monocular viewing. However, it was reported that different amounts of BS exist in a range from 1.4 to 2 values because BS is affected by the spatiotemporal parameters of the stimulus. Lateral interactions can be defined as the neuron's ability to affect the neighboring neurons by either inhibiting or exciting their activity. We investigated the effect of the spatial and temporal domains on binocular interactions and BS under the lateral masking paradigm and how BS would be affected by lateral interactions via a lateral masking experiment. The two temporal alternative forced-choice (2TAFC) method was used. The stimuli consisted of a central vertically oriented Gabor target and high-contrast Gabor flankers positioned in two configurations (orthogonal or collinear) with target-flanker separations of either 2 or 3 wavelengths (λ), presented at 4 different presentation times (40, 80, 120, and 200 ms) using a different order of measurements across the different experiments. Opaque lenses were used to control the monocular and binocular vision. BS is absent at close distances (2λ), depending on the presentation time's order, for the collinear but not for the orthogonal configuration. However, BS exists at more distant flankers (collinear and orthogonal, 3λ). BS is not uniform (1.4); it depends on the stimulus condition, the presentation times, the order, and the method that was used to control the monocular and binocular vision.

    Read more

  • Abnormal basic visual processing functions in binocular fusion disorders

    Abnormal basic visual processing functions in binocular fusion disorders

    מחבר Laura Benhaim-Sitbon, Maria Lev, and Uri Polat

    תקציר

    Heterophoria is a common type of binocular fusion disorder that consists of a latent eye misalignment with potential consequences on daily activities such as reading or working on a computer (with CVS). Crowding, a type of contextual modulation, can also impair reading. Our recent studies found an abnormal pattern of low-level visual processing with larger perceptive fields (PF) in heterophoria. The PF is the fundamental processing unit of human vision and both masking and crowding depend on its size. We investigated how heterophoria would impact the PF’s size via a lateral masking experiment and consequently affect the foveal crowding at different letter-spacings (the crowding zone). More specifically, we explored the relationship between crowding, lateral masking, the PF’s size, and the amount of heterophoria. The binocular horizontal PF’s size was larger with heterophoric subjects, in agreement with our previous study. We found a stronger crowding and an extended crowding zone associated with slower response times; this shows that the processing of letter identification under both crowded and uncrowded conditions requires more processing effort in heterophoric individuals. In agreement with previous studies, we found a correlation between the crowding zone and the PF’s size; each was strongly correlated with the amount of phoria. These findings resemble those involving the PF size and the extended crowding found at the fovea in amblyopia and young children. We suggest that these findings could help explain the inter-observers’ variability found in the masking literature, and the reading difficulties often encountered in subjects with high heterophoria.

    Read more

  • Optimizing the fabrication of a 3D high-resolution implant for neural stimulation

    Optimizing the fabrication of a 3D high-resolution implant for neural stimulation

    מחבר Gal Shpun, Nairouz Farah, Yoav Chemla, Amos Markus, Tamar Azrad Leibovitch, Erel Lasnoy, Doron Gerbe

    תקציר

    Background: Tissue-integrated micro-electronic devices for neural stimulation hold great potential in restoring the functionality of degenerated organs, specifically, retinal prostheses, which are aimed at vision restoration. The fabrication process of 3D polymer-metal devices with high resolution and a high aspect-ratio (AR) is very complex and faces many challenges that impair its functionality.

    Approach: Here we describe the optimization of the fabrication process of a bio-functionalized 3D high-resolution 1mm circular subretinal implant composed of SU-8 polymer integrated with dense gold microelectrodes (23μm pitch) passivated with 3D micro-well-like structures (20μm diameter, 3μm resolution). The main challenges were overcome by step-by-step planning and optimization while utilizing a two-step bi-layer lift-off process; bio-functionalization was carried out by N2 plasma treatment and the addition of a bio-adhesion molecule.

    Main results: In-vitro and in-vivo investigations, including SEM and FIB cross section examinations, revealed a good structural design, as well as a good long-term integration of the device in the rat sub-retinal space and cell migration into the wells. Moreover, the feasibility of subretinal neural stimulation using the fabricated device was demonstrated in-vitro by electrical activation of rat's retina.

    Conclusions: The reported process and optimization steps described here in detail can aid in designing and fabricating retinal prosthetic devices or similar neural implants.

    Read more

  • Traces of early developmental bias in the adult brain

    Traces of early developmental bias in the adult brain

    מחבר Gad Serero, Maria Lev, Dov Sagi & Uri Polat

    תקציר

    During the first 2 years of life, there is a high prevalence of optical distortions in the human eye, causing vertical blur on the retina (astigmatism), which is naturally resolved by the age of 5; thus, it is not treated. Here we determined the possible long-term effects on visual grouping resulting from optical distortions during the development of visual perception. Our results show a clear directional bias in shape perception for optically corrected astigmatic adults, compared with non-astigmatic ones, with remarkably slow decision times. These effects can be explained by a mismatch between the developmental timescales of different components in the visual system.

    Read more

  • Meridional binocular rivalry reveals a trace of uncorrected oblique input during development in the adult brain

    מחבר Gad Serero, Maria Lev, Uri Polat

    תקציר

    Binocular rivalry (BR) is a visual perception phenomenon that occurs when each eye perceives different images and stimuli, causing alternating monocular dominance. To measure BR, many studies have used two monocular conflicting images to induce monocular alternations. Here we chose a group of participants with oblique astigmatism (OA) and who produced blur on the orthogonal oblique meridian in each eye, resulting in two conflicting images, which may enhance the stimulation of monocular alternations. Our results show that OA participants tend to have a high rate of BR when viewing natural images, whereas the control group does not have BR for the same images. We suggest that this low ability to fuse could indicate the presence of a trace due to uncorrected vision during the critical period, which could be retained in the adult brain.

    Read more

  • Perceptual learning based on a temporal stimulus enhances visual function in adult amblyopic subjects

    Perceptual learning based on a temporal stimulus enhances visual function in adult amblyopic subjects

    מחבר Auria Eisen-Enosh, Nairouz Farah, Uri Polat & Yossi Mandel

    תקציר

    Studies have shown that Perceptual Learning (PL) can lead to enhancement of spatial visual functions in amblyopic subjects. Here we aimed to determine whether a simple flickering stimulus can be utilized in PL to enhance temporal function performance and whether enhancement will transfer to spatial functions in amblyopic subjects. Six adult amblyopic and six normally sighted subjects underwent an evaluation of their performance of baseline psychophysics spatial functions (Visual acuity (VA), contrast sensitivity (CS), temporal functions (critical fusion frequency (CFF) test), as well as a static and flickering stereopsis test, and an electrophysiological evaluation (VEP). The subjects then underwent 5 training sessions (on average, a total of 150 min over 2.5 weeks), which included a task similar to the CFF test using the method of constant stimuli. After completing the training sessions, subjects repeated the initial performance evaluation tasks. All amblyopic subjects showed improved temporal visual performance (CFF) in the amblyopic eye (on average, 17%, p << 0.01) following temporal PL. Generalization to spatial, spatio-temporal, and binocular tasks was also found: VA increased by 0.12 logMAR (p = 0.004), CS in backward masking significantly increased (by up to 19%, p = 0.003), and flickering stereopsis increased by 85 arcsec (p = 0.048). These results were further electrophysiologically manifested by an increase in VEP amplitude (by 43%, p = 0.03), increased Signal-to-Noise ratio (SNR) (by 39%, p = 0.024) to levels not different from normally sighted subjects, along with an improvement in inter-ocular delay (by 5.8 ms, p = 0.003). In contrast, no significant effect of training was found in the normally sighted group. These results highlight the potential of PL based on a temporal stimulus to improve the temporal and spatial visual performance in amblyopes. Future work is needed to optimize this method for clinical applications.

    Read more

  • Extended perceptive field revealed in humans with binocular fusion disorders

    Extended perceptive field revealed in humans with binocular fusion disorders

    מחבר Laura Benhaim-Sitbon, Maria Lev & Uri Polat

    תקציר

    Binocular vision disorders or dysfunctions have considerable impact on daily visual activities such as reading. Heterophoria (phoria) is a latent eye misalignment (with a prevalence of up to 35%) that appears in conditions that disrupt binocular vision and it may affect the quality of binocular fusion. Our recent study, which used lateral masking (LM), suggests that subjects with binocular fusion disorders (horizontal phoria) exhibit an asymmetry and an abnormal pattern of both binocular and monocular lateral interactions, but only for the horizontal meridian (HM). The perceptive field (PF) is the fundamental processing unit of human vision and both masking and crowding depend on its size. An increased PF size is found in amblyopic populations or in young children. We hypothesized that the PF’s size would be asymmetric only for the phoric group (larger along the HM). We estimated the PF’s size using two different methods (LM with equal-phase and opposite-phase flankers). Phoric subjects exhibited a larger binocular PF size, only for the HM, confirming our hypothesis of an asymmetric PF size. However, the monocular PF size of phoric and control subjects was similar. Phoria affects the PF’s size similarly to meridional amblyopia but without being attributed to abnormal refraction. We suggest that these findings could help explain the inter-observer variability found in the masking literature and the reading difficulties often encountered in subjects with high heterophoria. Since perceptual learning can reduce the PF’s size, further investigation of training may provide a novel therapy to reduce some symptoms related to heterophoria.

    Read more