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Julie D. Golomb, Vina Z. Pulido, Alice R. Albrecht, Marvin M. Chun, James A. Mazer; Robustness of the retinotopic attentional trace after eye movements. Journal of Vision 2010;10(3):19. doi: 10.1167/10.3.19.
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With each eye movement, the image received by the visual system changes drastically. To maintain stable spatiotopic (world-centered) representations, the relevant retinotopic (eye-centered) coordinates must be continually updated. Although updating or remapping of visual scene representations can occur very rapidly, J. D. Golomb, M. M. Chun, and J. A. Mazer (2008) demonstrated that representations of sustained attention update more slowly than the remapping literature would predict; attentional benefits at previously attended retinotopic locations linger after completion of the saccade, even when this location is no longer behaviorally relevant. The present study explores the robustness of this “retinotopic attentional trace.” We report significant retinotopic facilitation despite attempts to eliminate or reduce it by enhancing spatiotopic reference frames with permanent visual cues in the stimulus display and by introducing a different task where the attended location is the saccade target itself. Our results support and extend our earlier model of native retinotopically organized salience maps that must be dynamically updated to reflect the task-relevant spatiotopic location with each saccade. Consistent with the idea that attentional facilitation arises from persistent, recurrent neural activity, it takes measurable time for this facilitation to decay, leaving behind a retinotopic attentional trace after the saccade has been executed, regardless of conflicting task demands.
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