Eye-head coordination toward auditory and visual targets in humans

Daniela Zambarbieri, Roberto Schmid, Maurizio Versino, Giorgio Beltrami

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Eye-head coordination during gaze orientation toward auditory targets in total darkness has been examined in human subjects. The findings have been compared, for the same subjects, with those obtained by using visual targets. The use of auditory targets when investigating eye-head coordination has some advantages with respect to the more common use of visual targets: (i) more eccentric target positions can be presented to the subject; (ii) visual feedback is excluded during the execution of gaze displacement; (iii) complex patterns of saccadic responses can be elicited. This last aspect is particularly interesting for examining the coupling between the eyes and the head displacements. The experimental findings indicate that during gaze orientation toward a visual or an auditory target the central nervous system adopts the same strategy of using both the saccadic mechanism and the head motor plant. In spite of a common strategy, qualitative and quantitative parameters of the resulting eye-head coordination are slightly different, depending on the nature of the target. The findings relating to patterns of eye-head coordination seem to indicate a dissociation between the eyes and the head, which receive different motor commands independently generated from the gaze error signal. The experimental findings reported in this paper have been summarized in a model of the gaze control system that makes use of a gaze feedback hypothesis through the central reconstruction of the eye and head positions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)251-263
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Vestibular Research: Equilibrium and Orientation
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 1997


  • Auditory targets
  • Eye movements
  • Eye-head coordination
  • Gaze control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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