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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e52955. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0052955. Epub 2013 Jan 31.

A role of eye vergence in covert attention.

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Department Basic Psychology, Faculty of Psychology, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain.


Covert spatial attention produces biases in perceptual and neural responses in the absence of overt orienting movements. The neural mechanism that gives rise to these effects is poorly understood. Here we report the relation between fixational eye movements, namely eye vergence, and covert attention. Visual stimuli modulate the angle of eye vergence as a function of their ability to capture attention. This illustrates the relation between eye vergence and bottom-up attention. In visual and auditory cue/no-cue paradigms, the angle of vergence is greater in the cue condition than in the no-cue condition. This shows a top-down attention component. In conclusion, observations reveal a close link between covert attention and modulation in eye vergence during eye fixation. Our study suggests a basis for the use of eye vergence as a tool for measuring attention and may provide new insights into attention and perceptual disorders.

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