Effect of Stimulus Type and Motion on Smooth Pursuit in Adults and Children

Valldeflors Vinuela-Navarro, Jonathan T Erichsen, Cathy Williams, J Margaret Woodhouse

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


PURPOSE: This study presents a two-degree customized animated stimulus developed to evaluate smooth pursuit in children and investigates the effect of its predetermined characteristics (stimulus type and size) in an adult population. Then, the animated stimulus is used to evaluate the impact of different pursuit motion paradigms in children.

METHODS: To study the effect of animating a stimulus, eye movement recordings were obtained from 20 young adults while the customized animated stimulus and a standard dot stimulus were presented moving horizontally at a constant velocity. To study the effect of using a larger stimulus size, eye movement recordings were obtained from 10 young adults while presenting a standard dot stimulus of different size (1° and 2°) moving horizontally at a constant velocity. Finally, eye movement recordings were obtained from 12 children while the 2° customized animated stimulus was presented after three different smooth pursuit motion paradigms. Performance parameters, including gains and number of saccades, were calculated for each stimulus condition.

RESULTS: The animated stimulus produced in young adults significantly higher velocity gain (mean: 0.93; 95% CI: 0.90-0.96; P = .014), position gain (0.93; 0.85-1; P = .025), proportion of smooth pursuit (0.94; 0.91-0.96, P = .002), and fewer saccades (5.30; 3.64-6.96, P = .008) than a standard dot (velocity gain: 0.87; 0.82-0.92; position gain: 0.82; 0.72-0.92; proportion smooth pursuit: 0.87; 0.83-0.90; number of saccades: 7.75; 5.30-10.46). In contrast, changing the size of a standard dot stimulus from 1° to 2° did not have an effect on smooth pursuit in young adults (P > .05). Finally, smooth pursuit performance did not significantly differ in children for the different motion paradigms when using the animated stimulus (P > .05).

CONCLUSIONS: Attention-grabbing and more dynamic stimuli, such as the developed animated stimulus, might potentially be useful for eye movement research. Finally, with such stimuli, children perform equally well irrespective of the motion paradigm used.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-769
Number of pages10
JournalOptometry and Vision Science
Issue number7
Early online date1 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

This is a non-final version of an article published in final form in Effect of Stimulus Type and Motion on Smooth Pursuit in Adults and Children
Vinuela-Navarro, V., Erichsen, J. T., Williams, C. & Woodhouse, J. M. 1 Jul 2017 In : Optometry and Vision Science. 94, 7, p. 760-769 10 p. http://doi.org/10.1097/OPX.0000000000001090

Funding: The College of Optometrists, UK


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye Movements
  • Female
  • Generalization, Stimulus
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motion Perception
  • Pursuit, Smooth
  • Saccades
  • Young Adult
  • Comparative Study
  • Journal Article


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