FH Bielefeld
University of
Applied Sciences

Modelling of voluntary saccadic eye movements during decision making

Prof. Dr. Svetozara Petrova

This project, coordinated by the Institute of Information and Communication Technologies, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (Prof. P. Koprinkova-Hristova) started in November 2016 and was funded by the Bulgarian National Sciences Foundation in the frame of Competition for financial support of fundamental research-2016. The organization partner involved in the project is the Institute of Neurobiology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Concerning saccadic movements of human eyes, several models are created from neuroscientific view point. They are related to detailed description of brain structures involved in visual perception as well as with visual information processing and consequent motor response of the human eyes. The whole process of perception up to the motor response of the eyes is related to the process of decision making by humans. The decision making from the other hand is considered as a process for decision of optimization task by human brain, often in conditions of incorrect or incomplete sensory information coming from the environment that in fact is Reinforcement Learning (RL). There are also numerous investigations how human age influences decision making during execution of visual tasks. Part of this research relates age changes with the changes in dopamine levels in the human brain that is considered as the main neuromodulator in the process of RL. Decreased levels of dopamine were related also with some diseases such as Par-kinson and Alzheimer.

The main aim of the project is to create a complete model of saccadic eye movements during decision making in visual tasks by combining the previous model of visual processing of motion information developed by the research team with a model describing human brain structures related to “punish/reward” reinforcement learning. The age-related changes in these processes will be taken into account in the modeling.