17th December 2018, 14h -15h
(Hôpital des Quinze-Vingts, Salle Schiff (3rd floor))

Mary Hayhoe (Center for Perceptual Systems University of Texas Austin, USA)

Invited by Angelo Arleo

Eye movements in the natural world reflect the information needs of the momentary behavioral goals, the rewards and costs associated with those goals, and uncertainty about the state of the world. We examine how these factors trade off in the context of walking outdoors in terrains of varying difficulty, a situation where little is known about how visual and locomotor systems work together to achieve efficient and stable behavior. We developed a novel system to simultaneously record gaze and full-body kinematics during locomotion. Walkers tune their gaze behavior to the specific information needed for paths of varying complexity and modulate the energetically optimal preferred gait to balance between the competing demands of efficiency and stability as terrain complexity increases. They do this while maintaining a constant temporal look-ahead window across all terrains. Thus gaze and locomotion are intimately linked and, revealing the varying information demands of the natural world.

Mary Hayhoe is Professor of Psychology at the University of Texas Austin. She received her PhD from UC San Diego and served on the faculty at the Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester (1984 – 2005) and University of Texas at Austin (2006 – present). She has been a pioneer in developing virtual environments and experimental paradigms for the investigation of natural visually guided behavior. She developed a Virtual Reality laboratory, initially at the University of Rochester and then at UT Austin using eye and body tracking technology. She was on the Board of the Vision Sciences Society and was President in 2014-2015. She has been an editor of the Journal of Vision since 2010, and is on the NIH CP Study Section panel, having also served on the Vis B Study section in 1994-1998. She is the recipient of the Davida Teller Award in 2017 for outstanding contributions to vision research. She is also the PI on an NIH Training Grant to the Center for Perceptual Systems at UT and has trained numerous graduate students and post-doctoral fellows.