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Vision Res. 2005 Mar;45(6):721-30.

Microsaccade dynamics during covert attention.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, University of Potsdam, P.O. Box 601553, 14415 Potsdam, Germany.


We compared effects of covert spatial-attention shifts induced with exogenous or endogenous cues on microsaccade rate and direction. Separate and dissociated effects were obtained in rate and direction measures. Display changes caused microsaccade rate inhibition, followed by sustained rate enhancement. Effects on microsaccade direction were differentially tied to cue class (exogenous vs. endogenous) and type (neutral vs. directional). For endogenous cues, direction effects were weak and occurred late. Exogenous cues caused a fast direction bias towards the cue (i.e., early automatic triggering of saccade programs), followed by a shift in the opposite direction (i.e, controlled inhibition of cue-directed saccades, leading to a 'leakage' of microsaccades in the opposite direction).

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