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J Vis. 2017 Nov 1;17(13):2. doi: 10.1167/17.13.2.

Selective enhancement of orientation tuning before saccades.

Ohl S1,2, Kuper C1,2,3, Rolfs M1,2.

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Department of Psychology, Humboldt-Universit├Ąt zu Berlin, Germany.
Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Berlin, Germany.
Freie Universit├Ąt, Berlin, Germany.


Saccadic eye movements cause a rapid sweep of the visual image across the retina and bring the saccade's target into high-acuity foveal vision. Even before saccade onset, visual processing is selectively prioritized at the saccade target. To determine how this presaccadic attention shift exerts its influence on visual selection, we compare the dynamics of perceptual tuning curves before movement onset at the saccade target and in the opposite hemifield. Participants monitored a 30-Hz sequence of randomly oriented gratings for a target orientation. Combining a reverse correlation technique previously used to study orientation tuning in neurons and general additive mixed modeling, we found that perceptual reports were tuned to the target orientation. The gain of orientation tuning increased markedly within the last 100 ms before saccade onset. In addition, we observed finer orientation tuning right before saccade onset. This increase in gain and tuning occurred at the saccade target location and was not observed at the incongruent location in the opposite hemifield. The present findings suggest, therefore, that presaccadic attention exerts its influence on vision in a spatially and feature-selective manner, enhancing performance and sharpening feature tuning at the future gaze location before the eyes start moving.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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