Tracking

Vision can be thought of as a series of snapshots, the brain takes hundreds such pictures every second.  The eyes are constantly moving to feed this visual information to the brain.  The way in which we describe the major types of eye movements are fixations, pursuits, and saccades.

Pursuits are following eye movements.  When something of importance moves into our field of vision our eyes can smoothly track it constantly, if it is moving slowly enough.  Imagine trying to catch a fly in a pair of chopsticks.

Saccades are larger tracking eye movements, or jumps, that very quickly move the eyes to something of interest.  Reading in particular consists of thousands of saccades, with brief fixations in between each jump to allow the brain to gather and integrate information.

 

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