Our Research

Vision provides important sensory input for guiding most of our movements, but especially for actions performed with the upper limb, such as writing, using tools, pouring a drink into a cup, opening the doors with a key or by pressing numbers on a key pad. One important aspect of motor performance is the ability to localize objects with respect to the body in order to reach and grasp the objects that we want to interact with or use. Successful performance of these coordinated actions requires accurate depth perception.

Stereopsis is the highest level of binocular vision, arising when spatiotemporally correlated images from each eye are combined in the visual cortex. Depth perception arising from stereopsis provides information about the object's location in depth and the spatial relations between objects in depth, which are important for planning and execution of reaching and grasping movements. Since the sensitivity of the retina is best at the foveal region, vergence and saccadic eye movements need to be executed in order to extract the relevant information from the environment to guide reaching and prehension movements. In short, binocular vision has evolved to support performance in natural, often cluttered visual scenes where objects and the observer are often moving, thus, it is important to study the role of this input in dynamic, natural environments.

The goal of my research program is to understand how the brain uses signals from both eyes during execution of functional motor tasks. This question will be first examined by characterizing the relation between development of binocular visual function and visuomotor coordination in visually-normal children. Since the development of binocular vision is commonly disrupted in children with amblyopia and/or strabismus, these visual disorders offer a unique model to examine the effects of binocular dysfunction on the development of eye-hand coordination skills.
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1. Does binocular visual input provide an advantage for planning and executing of eye movements, and temporal eye-hand coordination during reaching and grasping actions in environments of increasing complexity?
2. What is the impact of binocular visual dysfunction on the developmental trajectory of fine motor skills?
3. What is the role of binocular visual input during childhood on the development of higher cognitive processes, which are important for executing coordinated fine motor actions, such as attention, working-memory and multisensory integration?
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