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Anke Cajar, Paul Schneeweiß, Ralf Engbert, Jochen Laubrock; Coupling of attention and saccades when viewing scenes with central and peripheral degradation. Journal of Vision 2016;16(2):8. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/16.2.8.
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Degrading real-world scenes in the central or the peripheral visual field yields a characteristic pattern: Mean saccade amplitudes increase with central and decrease with peripheral degradation. Does this pattern reflect corresponding modulations of selective attention? If so, the observed saccade amplitude pattern should reflect more focused attention in the central region with peripheral degradation and an attentional bias toward the periphery with central degradation. To investigate this hypothesis, we measured the detectability of peripheral (Experiment 1) or central targets (Experiment 2) during scene viewing when low or high spatial frequencies were gaze-contingently filtered in the central or the peripheral visual field. Relative to an unfiltered control condition, peripheral filtering induced a decrease of the detection probability for peripheral but not for central targets (tunnel vision). Central filtering decreased the detectability of central but not of peripheral targets. Additional post hoc analyses are compatible with the interpretation that saccade amplitudes and direction are computed in partial independence. Our experimental results indicate that task-induced modulations of saccade amplitudes reflect attentional modulations.
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