Visual field asymmetries vary between children and adults

Published in Current Biology, 2022

Abstract: Visual perception in human adults varies throughout the visual field, both across eccentricity — decreasing with distance from the center of gaze — and around isoeccentric locations — that is, with polar angle at a constant distance from the center of gaze. At isoeccentric locations, the same visual information yields better performance along the horizontal than vertical meridian (horizontal–vertical anisotropy, HVA) and along the lower than upper vertical meridian (vertical–meridian asymmetry, VMA). These perceptual polar angle asymmetries in adults have been well characterized. Poor perception at upper visual field locations would be particularly detrimental to children: in their perceptual world, given their height, many important events occur above eye level. Developmental aspects of visual perception have been well characterized 1 , and some basic dimensions, such as contrast sensitivity, continue to develop through childhood 2 , but there is no research on polar angle asymmetries before adulthood. Here, we investigated whether these asymmetries are present in children, and if so, whether they differ from those of adults. We found clear differences between children and adults in performance around the visual field: the HVA is less pronounced and the VMA is not present for children.

Recommended citation: Carrasco, M., Roberts, M., Myers, C., & Shukla, L. (2022). "Visual field asymmetries vary between children and adults. " Current Biology. 1. 32(11), R509-R510.

Oculomotor freezing reflects tactile temporal expectation and aids tactile perception

Published in Nature Communications, 2020

Abstract: The oculomotor system keeps the eyes steady in expectation of visual events. Here, recording microsaccades while people performed a tactile (frequency discrimination) task enabled us to test whether the oculomotor system shows an analogous preparatory response for unrelated tactile events. We manipulated the temporal predictability of tactile targets using tactile cues, which preceded the target by either constant (high predictability) or variable (low predictability) time intervals. Microsaccades were inhibited prior to target onset and more so for constant than variable intervals. This microsaccadic inhibition reveals a tight cross-modal link between tactile temporal expectation and oculomotor action. These findings –together with parallel findings in audition– portray oculomotor freezing as a marker of supramodal temporal expectation. Moreover, microsaccades occurring around the tactile target presentation were associated with reduced task performance, suggesting that oculomotor freezing mitigates potential detrimental, concomitant effects of microsaccades and revealing a cross-modal coupling between tactile perception and oculomotor action.

Recommended citation: Badde, S., Myers, C., Yuval-Greenberg, S. & Carrasco, M. (2020). "Oculomotor freezing reflects tactile temporal expectation and aids tactile perception ." Nature Communications. 1. 11(1): 3341.

The songs of my people: appraisal differences of popular music as a function of ideology

Published in OSF Thesis Commons, 2020

Music powerfully engages brain and mind, yet remains largely underutilized as experimental stimulus material. Here, we wondered how ideological differences manifest in terms of musical preferences. To explore this question, we studied a large sample of research participants by exposing them to a representative corpus of musical stimuli while also eliciting their ideological position. Doing so, we found that ideological differences are linked to specific signatures of musical appraisal - there are significant genre-based differences in self-reported listening behavior as well as appraisal differences in how people with different ideological affiliations experience the music when listening to it. This effect is strong: ideology can be used to predict whether an ambiguous stimulus in terms of valence - e.g. country music – is experienced as aversive or enjoyable. As political preferences affect aesthetic judgments, we conclude that ideological positions are more deeply rooted than suggested by a discourse model of political exchange.

Recommended citation: Myers, C., & Wallisch, P. (2020, June 3). " The songs of my people: appraisal differences of popular music as a function of ideology. " 1. 1(1).