Visual crowding is anisotropic along the horizontal meridian during smooth pursuit


Harrison, W.J., Remington, R.W. & Mattingley, J.B. Visual crowding is anisotropic along the horizontal meridian during smooth pursuit. Journal of Vision 14, 1:21, 1-16 (2014). Copy at


Humans make smooth pursuit eye movements to foveate moving objects of interest. It is known that smooth pursuit alters visual processing, but there is currently no consensus on whether changes in vision are contingent on the direction the eyes are moving. We recently showed that visual crowding can be used as a sensitive measure of changes in visual processing, resulting from involvement of the saccadic eye movement system. The present paper extends these results by examining the effect of smooth pursuit eye movements on the spatial extent of visual crowding—the area over which visual stimuli are integrated. We found systematic changes in crowding that depended on the direction of pursuit and the distance of stimuli from the pursuit target. Relative to when no eye movement was made, the spatial extent of crowding increased for objects located contraversive to the direction of pursuit at an eccentricity of approximately 3°. By contrast, crowding for objects located ipsiversive to the direction of pursuit remained unchanged. There was no change in crowding during smooth pursuit for objects located approximately 7° from the fovea. The increased size of the crowding zone for the contraversive direction may be related to the distance that the fovea lags behind the pursuit target during smooth eye movements. Overall, our results reveal that visual perception is altered dynamically according to the intended destination of oculomotor commands.


DOI: doi: 10.1167/14.1.21
Last updated on 01/28/2014