Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Although eye movement saccades are stereotyped, repeatable movements, the shape of the neural controller signal innervating the extraocular muscles is a matter of controversy. Different lines of evidence — single motoneuron recordings, electromyograms, and dynamics — lead to different conclusions. Although all agree that the controller is, in outline, a pulse-step of net activity, neither the pulse width nor shape of the trailing edge of the pulse is clear. We use a mathematical model of the eye and two extraocular muscles to link the dynamical data to the electrophysiological evidence. We conjecture a multipulse controller signal, based on the application of an optimality principle to our model. This multi-pulse controller signal raises new possibilities for resolution of the pulse shape ambiguities, and resolves the controversy over pulse width.
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