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Vision Res. 2008 Oct;48(22):2382-93. doi: 10.1016/j.visres.2008.07.020. Epub 2008 Sep 14.

Changes in the functional visual field during search with and without eye movements.

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Research Service 151, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 800 Irving Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.


The size of the functional visual field (FVF) is dynamic, changing with the context and attentive demand that each fixation brings as we move our eyes and head to explore the visual scene. Using performance measures of the FVF we show that during search conditions with eye movements, the FVF is small compared to the size of the FVF measured during search without eye movements. In all cases the size of the FVF is constrained by the density of distracting items. During search without eye movements the FVF expands with time; subjects have idiosyncratic spatial biases suggesting covert shifts of attention. For search within the constraints imposed by item density, the rate of item inspection is the same across all search conditions. Array set size effects are not apparent once stimulus density is taken into account, a result that is consistent with a spatial constraint for the FVF based on the cortical separation hypothesis.

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