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Exp Brain Res. 2008 Apr;186(3):431-42. Epub 2007 Dec 18.

Distractor effects on saccade trajectories: a comparison of prosaccades, antisaccades, and memory-guided saccades.

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Departments of Psychology, Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of British Columbia, 2136 West Mall, V6T 1Z4, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


The present study investigated the contribution of the presence of a visual signal at the saccade goal on saccade trajectory deviations and measured distractor-related inhibition as indicated by deviation away from an irrelevant distractor. Performance in a prosaccade task where a visual target was present at the saccade goal was compared to performance in an anti- and memory-guided saccade task. In the latter two tasks no visual signal is present at the location of the saccade goal. It was hypothesized that if saccade deviation can be ultimately explained in terms of relative activation levels between the saccade goal location and distractor locations, the absence of a visual stimulus at the goal location will increase the competition evoked by the distractor and affect saccade deviations. The results of Experiment 1 showed that saccade deviation away from a distractor varied significantly depending on whether a visual target was presented at the saccade goal or not: when no visual target was presented, saccade deviation away from a distractor was increased compared to when the visual target was present. The results of Experiments 2-4 showed that saccade deviation did not systematically change as a function of time since the offset of the target. Moreover, Experiments 3 and 4 revealed that the disappearance of the target immediately increased the effect of a distractor on saccade deviations, suggesting that activation at the target location decays very rapidly once the visual signal has disappeared from the display.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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