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Exp Brain Res. 2010 Apr;202(1):155-69. doi: 10.1007/s00221-009-2120-y. Epub 2009 Dec 19.

Apparent motion during saccadic suppression periods.

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Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Centre for Vision Research, York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON, M3J 1P3, Canada.


Sensitivity to many visual stimuli, and, in particular, image displacement, is reduced during a change in fixation (saccade) compared to when the eye is still. In these experiments, we studied the sensitivity of observers to ecologically relevant image translations of large, complex, real world scenes either during horizontal saccades or during fixation. In the first experiment, we found that such displacements were much less detectable during saccades than during fixation. Qualitatively, even when trans-saccadic scene changes were detectable, they were less salient and appeared slower than equivalent changes in the absence of a saccade. Two further experiments followed up on this observation and estimated the perceived magnitude of trans-saccadic apparent motion using a two-interval forced-choice procedure (Experiment 2) and a magnitude estimation procedure (Experiment 3). Both experiments suggest that trans-saccadic displacements were perceived as smaller than equivalent inter-saccadic displacements. We conclude that during saccades, the magnitude of the apparent motion signal is attenuated as well as its detectability.

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