New study suggests the brain predicts what eyes in motion will see

Man gazingRockville, MD – When the eyes move, objects in the line of sight suddenly jump to a different place on the retina, but the mind perceives the scene as stable and continuous. A new study reports that the brain predicts the consequences of eye movement even before the eyes take in a new scene.

The study, "Looking ahead: The perceived direction of gaze shifts before the eyes move," published in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s peer-reviewed Journal of Vision, asked subjects to shift their eyes to a clock with a fast-moving hand and report the time on the clock when their eyes landed on it. The average reported time was 39 milliseconds before the actual time. As a control task, the clock moved instead of the eyes, and the reported arrival times averaged 27 milliseconds after the actual time.

"We’ve revealed a moment in time when things are not perceived as they actually are," said lead researcher Amelia Hunt, PhD, of the University of Aberdeen’s School of Psychology. "These findings serve as a reminder that every aspect of our experience is constructed by our brains."

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