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Vision Res. 2006 Jun;46(13):2082-93. Epub 2006 Feb 13.

The parallel programming of voluntary and reflexive saccades.

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Department of Psychology, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX, UK.


A novel two-step paradigm was used to investigate the parallel programming of consecutive, stimulus-elicited ('reflexive') and endogenous ('voluntary') saccades. The mean latency of voluntary saccades, made following the first reflexive saccades in two-step conditions, was significantly reduced compared to that of voluntary saccades made in the single-step control trials. The latency of the first reflexive saccades was modulated by the requirement to make a second saccade: first saccade latency increased when a second voluntary saccade was required in the opposite direction to the first saccade, and decreased when a second saccade was required in the same direction as the first reflexive saccade. A second experiment confirmed the basic effect and also showed that a second reflexive saccade may be programmed in parallel with a first voluntary saccade. The results support the view that voluntary and reflexive saccades can be programmed in parallel on a common motor map.

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