Evidence of inverted gravity-driven variation in predictive sensorimotor function

Andrew Isaac Meso, Robert L. De Vai, Ashakee Mahabeer, Peter J. Hills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


We move our eyes to place the fovea into the part of a viewed scene currently of interest. Recent evidence suggests that each human has signature patterns of eye movements like handwriting which depend on their sensitivity, allocation of attention and experience. Use of implicit knowledge of how earth's gravity influences object motion has been shown to aid dynamic perception. We used a projected ball-tracking task with a plain background offering no context cues to probe the effect of acquired experience about physical laws of gravitation on performance differences of 44 participants under a simulated gravity and an atypical (upward) antigravity condition. Performance measured by the unsigned difference between instantaneous eye and stimulus positions (RMSE) was consistently worse in the antigravity condition. In the vertical RMSE, participants took about 200 ms longer to improve to the best performance for antigravity compared to gravity trials. The antigravity condition produced a divergence of individual performance which was correlated with levels of questionnaire-based quantified traits of schizotypy but not control traits. Grouping participants by high or low traits revealed a negative relationship between schizotypy trait level and both initiation and maintenance of tracking, a result consistent with trait-related impoverished sensory prediction. The findings confirm for the first time that where cues enabling exact estimation of acceleration are unavailable, knowledge of gravity contributes to dynamic prediction improving motion processing. With acceleration expectations violated, we demonstrate that antigravity tracking could act as a multivariate diagnostic window into predictive brain function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4803-4823
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • diagnostics
  • eye movements
  • gravity
  • prediction
  • schizotypy


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