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J Vis. 2013 Jan 1;13(8). pii: 4. doi: 10.1167/13.8.4.

Intrasaccadic suppression is dominated by reduced detector gain.

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  • 1Center for Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Newark, NJ, USA. jon@vision.rutgers.edu


Human vision requires fast eye movements (saccades). Each saccade causes a self-induced motion signal, but we are not aware of this potentially jarring visual input. Among the theorized causes of this phenomenon is a decrease in visual sensitivity before (presaccadic suppression) and during (intrasaccadic suppression) saccades. We investigated intrasaccadic suppression using a perceptual template model (PTM) relating visual detection to different signal-processing stages. One stage changes the gain on the detector's input; another increases uncertainty about the stimulus, allowing more noise into the detector; and other stages inject noise into the detector in a stimulus-dependent or -independent manner. By quantifying intrasaccadic suppression of flashed horizontal gratings at varying external noise levels, we obtained threshold-versus-noise (TVN) data, allowing us to fit the PTM. We tested if any of the PTM parameters changed significantly between the fixation and saccade models and could therefore account for intrasaccadic suppression. We found that the dominant contribution to intrasaccadic suppression was a reduction in the gain of the visual detector. We discuss how our study differs from previous ones that have pointed to uncertainty as an underlying cause of intrasaccadic suppression and how the equivalent noise approach provides a framework for comparing the disparate neural correlates of saccadic suppression.


equivalent noise; eye movements; gain reduction; noise injection; perceptual template model; saccadic suppression; spatial uncertainty

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