Predictive Smooth Pursuit Eye Movements

Eileen Kowler, Jason F. Rubinstein, Elio M. Santos, Jie Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Smooth pursuit eye movements maintain the line of sight on smoothly moving targets. Although often studied as a response to sensory motion, pursuit anticipates changes in motion trajectories, thus reducing harmful consequences due to sensorimotor processing delays. Evidence for predictive pursuit includes (a) anticipatory smooth eye movements (ASEM) in the direction of expected future target motion that can be evoked by perceptual cues or by memory for recent motion, (b) pursuit during periods of target occlusion, and (c) improved accuracy of pursuit with self-generated or biologically realistic target motions. Predictive pursuit has been linked to neural activity in the frontal cortex and in sensory motion areas. As behavioral and neural evidence for predictive pursuit grows and statistically based models augment or replace linear systems approaches, pursuit is being regarded less as a reaction to immediate sensory motion and more as a predictive response, with retinal motion serving as one of a number of contributing cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)223-246
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Vision Science
StatePublished - Sep 15 2019
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


  • anticipation
  • anticipatory smooth eye movements
  • expectation
  • extraretinal signal
  • eye movements
  • frontal eye field
  • motion
  • prediction
  • sensory motion areas
  • smooth pursuit


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