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Vision Res. 2001 Oct;41(23):3039-50.

Apparent size of an object remains uncompressed during presaccadic compression of visual space.

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Imaging Science and Engineering Laboratory, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta, Midori-ku, Yokohama 226-8503, Japan.


It is well known that compression of visual space occurs near the saccade goal when visual stimuli are briefly flashed at various locations on a visual reference just before a saccade. We investigated how presaccadic compression of visual space affected the apparent size of an object. In the first experiment, subjects were instructed to report the apparent number of multiple bars briefly presented around the time of saccade onset. The reported number of four bars began to decline at the 50 ms mark before a saccade and reached a minimum near the saccade onset. This confirms that the compression of visual space occurs just before saccades. In the second experiment, subjects judged the apparent width of a rectangle (a single element) or four bars (four elements) presented just before saccades. The apparent width of the four-bar stimulus was compressed just before saccades, but that of the rectangle stimulus was not compressed. Experiment 3 shows that the width compression of the four-bar stimulus is consistent with the width change predicted by compression of position. These findings indicate that the shape of a single object is not distorted at the saccade goal during presaccadic compression of visual space. In addition, experiment 4 indicates that the apparent width of a flashed stimulus just before saccades depends on the processing of global shape. This extends the definition of a visual object during presaccadic compression of visual space to not only a solid element but also a constellation of multiple elements. Furthermore, the results from these experiments suggest that presaccadic compression of visual space does not prevent object recognition underlying an attentional mechanism in generating saccadic eye movements.

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