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Biol Cybern. 1994;72(1):19-34.

Parallel and serial processes in the human oculomotor system: bimodal integration and express saccades.

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Department of Psychology, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH 03755.


Saccadic reaction times (SRTs) were analyzed in the context of stochastic models of information processing (e.g., Townsend and Ashby 1983) to reveal the processing architecture(s) underlying integrative interactions between visual and auditory inputs and the mechanisms of express saccades. The results support the following conclusions. Bimodal (visual+auditory) targets are processed in parallel, and facilitate SRT to an extent that exceeds levels attainable by probability summation. This strongly implies neural summation between elements responding to spatially aligned visual and auditory inputs in the human oculomotor system. Second, express saccades are produced within a separable processing stage that is organized in series with that responsible for intersensory integration. A model is developed that implements this combination of parallel and serial processing. The activity in parallel input channels is summed within a sensory stage which is organized in series with a pre-motor and motor stage. The time course of each subprocess is considered a random variable, and different experimental manipulations can selectively influence different stages. Parallels between the model and physiological data are explored.

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